Home > Scripture Reflections, spiritual formation > What about those who appear to be getting away with it?

What about those who appear to be getting away with it?


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Psalm 37 is rich in encouragement for those of us who are frustrated when people seem to be getting away with

  • Murder
  • Injustice
  • Manipulation

The Psalmist knows us well and he tells us three times to “fret not” in verses 1, 7, and 8.  Do not be angry when they seem to be getting away with it, he warns us.  They will eventually just fade away (1, 10, 26, 30)

Neither should we be envious, he says in verse 1.  If you can’t beat them, join them . . . should not be our motto!  Instead we are to turn away from evil and do good in verse 27. Neither are we to be impatient (7, 34).

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Rather, we are to be patient and wait upon God (7, 34). We do not need to rush to action. We are to be silent, hold our tongue, speak wisdom (30). And (reminiscent of the sermon on the mount), we are to be meek in verse 11 because “the meek shall inherit the land.”

When we see people getting away with it, our focus must be on delighting in Yahweh (4) and in his word (23, 31).  We are to trust Yahweh (3, 5).

We are to choose justice (mishphat mentioned in 6, 27, 30), wisdom (30), and obedience (31).

Believers in these verses are called the righteous (12, 16, 17, 21, 25, 29, 30, 32, 39),  the blameless (37), upright (21), faithful (28), the godly, meek (11), generous (21), and people of peace (37).  Yaweh knows us—we need not worry (18).

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We need to remember that God laughs at their plots against us, their gnashing of their teeth (12).  They may draw swords and bows against us but they will find themselves stuck by their own sword. How foolish and sad they are.  One day, they will just fade away . . . and wither (1).  One day they will be no more (10).  Their life and all their ambitions will perish and their memory will be like smoke that fade away (20, 36). In strong language, Psalm 37 says they will soon be cut off (8, 22, 28, 34, 38)—a word used for divorce, abandonment, a lack of covenant relationship.

In contrast, the righteous are upheld by God.  He holds our hand (24) so that we do not slip (31).  He promises us a great future (37).  In contrast to being cut off, the righteous inherit the land (9, 11, 29, 34).  What good promises God has for those of us who wait for him.

We need to believe that it is better to have a little and righteous than to have an abundance and be counted with the wicked (16)!

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