Get What You Want
Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.
12 The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose way is upright;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.
16 Better is the little that the righteous has
than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
but the LORD upholds the righteous.
18 The LORD knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
in the days of famine they have abundance.
20 But the wicked will perish;
the enemies of the LORD are like the glory of the pastures;
they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
but the righteous is generous and gives;
22 for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land,
but those cursed by him shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the LORD upholds his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever lending generously,
and his children become a blessing.
27 Turn away from evil and do good;
so shall you dwell forever.
28 For the LORD loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land
and dwell upon it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip.
32 The wicked watches for the righteous
and seeks to put him to death.
33 The LORD will not abandon him to his power
or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.
34 Wait for the LORD and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
you will look on when the wicked are cut off.
35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
though I sought him, he could not be found.
37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
for there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
the future of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
Psalm 37 is known as the Fretter’s Psalm. This is due to the repetition of the word fret in verses 1, 7 and 8. David tells us we are not to fret because of evildoers (v1) or those who prosper through evil (v7). Lastly he warns us not to fret because it leads to evil. Ironically fretting over evildoers leads us to become evildoers. But what does it mean to fret? For years I thought it just meant to stress. I understood David to be saying, “Don’t stress.” Fret, however, is a much stronger word. The Hebrew word has the idea of burning with anger. Have you ever felt that? Have you experienced injustice or seen others prosper through evil and felt that fire rising up inside of you? Have you felt like becoming a vigilante? Have you watched one of Denzel Washington or Clint Eastwood’s revenge movies and thought, “Where do I sign up?”
David says, “Don’t do it!” Don’t let that anger be kindled in your heart. Why? Because it will destroy you. But how do we stop it? David gives us two things to do. Firstly, although not most importantly, we are to remember that the Lord will sort them out. Much of the Psalm is about how futile, pathetic and short lived the efforts of the wicked are. The Lord laughs at them (v13). Five times David tells us that the wicked will be cut off (vv9, 22, 28, 34 and 38). To be cut off is to be destroyed. It is to be removed from any source of life, just as when you prune a tree, the branches that are cut off whither and die. If you were honest though you would acknowledge that you deserve to be cut off, we all do. All have sinned, there is none righteous, so how can we be preserved? Isaiah 53 tells us that the suffering servant will be cut off (v8). The Gospel message is that the Lord Jesus was cut off so that you and I might not be.
The second way that we fight burning anger is by focusing on the Lord. We are to trust in the Lord (v3), delight in the Lord (v4), commit our way to the Lord (v5) and be still before the Lord (v7). The Lord must be our obsession! If we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. Only Christ can satisfy the desires of our hearts. Our hearts are like the black holes left by collapsed stars, they suck everything in and then crush it. This is what your heart will do to any desire that isn’t rooted in Christ. Your heart is so big that only Christ can fill it. Paul tells us that all the promises find their fulfilment in Jesus (2 Cor 1:20). You and I desire peace, Jesus is the Prince of Peace. We long for love, Jesus is love. We need acceptance, Jesus accepts all who come to Him. We seek security, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who never loses any of His sheep. Whatever legitimate desire you have will be given to you in Christ.
“Love God and do what you will.” Augustine