Psalms are life-giving poetry put to music. Psalm 119 is a huge symphony, while 134 is a short jingle. These songs aren’t just a daily read, they’re designed to speak to our heart; selah (pause in his presence) is only found in psalms. They can comfort, challenge, convict and convey Father’s heart. Choose one, jump in for a month and plumb its depths. Read different translations, pour over the Hebrew language and meditate on its correlation to where you are in life at this time. Put your heart in, and it will give you treasure in return. The results will bring you to the feet of the Master where you can joyfully learn from him.
Psalm 37 was a recent mining expedition that reaped a rich return. Allow me to share some nuggets I found. Here are the first two verses from the New King James Version.
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity [wrongdoers].
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
Perhaps you and I are too mature to get knotted up about evildoers and wrongdoers. I say that tongue-in-cheek of course. But they’re typically broken and hurting people responding to life’s pain with wrong actions and choices. Or, they are morally corrupt and hurtful people. But evildoers take action, actions need intent and intents find a target. They are people who eat of the other tree in the garden. And because there are so many of them, they can often make a mess of a perfectly good day. Or cause us to wonder why they succeed while good people languish.
Fretting in our case isn’t the metal stops on a guitar neck. According to the Hebrew, it is worry or anxiousness, anger or any strong feeling of displeasure. It is misdirected zeal or trying to outdo others. Fretting can cause us to make choices we would not ordinarily make if our well-being was in good shape. There are other frets in Psalm 37, and we will play those tunes at another time.
What this verse speaks of is our spiritual environment. Is that environment negatively affecting who we are and taking away our ability to keep Papa God as ruler over all of it? Or are we being influential from our heavenly position and leading the way as world changers?
Do we let the injustice of today’s politics and morality rob us of the good and slime us with the bad and the ugly? I find it difficult to be jealous or envious of the two square feet of political real estate that a hundred other voices are trying to get access to. It’s a constant press to be pushed around or beat down for having strong convictions on strong issues.
What do we feel when we look at those who are working their personal agendas and making progress while we faithfully live our gifting, callings and influence with just minor forward movement as our fruit? Of course, we don’t fret (get mad, frustrated or otherwise disheartened) about that. It’s all part of stretching into greater capacity . . . right?
Being tenacious and worshipping God in Spirit and truth gets resistance stacked against it from culture, relationships and even our emotions. It takes a powerful person to have a world view that makes a difference. Papa God told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed, discouraged or frightened, for Yahweh your God is with you wherever you go.”
The inheritance we’ve been given is greater than anything we can think or imagine. We have chosen the tree of life. Its leaves are for the healing of the nations, our families and our neighbors. No matter what our circumstances look like, we will have better fruit than the world can ever hope to have.
Whatever afflictions come with that worldview . . . let’s choose to be fretless. The other players won’t be around for the finale. They will have played their part and probably felt they had played well. But these songs are about ending well with a reward. And regardless of the difficulty of things we’ve been given, if we played our hearts out for the King, and kept our love intact, we will end well.