Sermon preached on the 27th December 2009. Aaron J Lewis
Psalm 37 : 1 -7
“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”
In the 26th chapter of Isaiah we have words of great encouragement. In verses 3 & 4 we read, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:” Going down to verse 12, we then read “LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us:” We dear brethren are to exercise faith in the Lord our God, 'Trust ye in the LORD'. In verse 20 the Lord through His servant gives us a gracious and loving invitation, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” Having these encouragements before us and this gracious and loving invitation, let us trust the Lord, and stay near to Him in the day of adversity.
The Psalmist here in the 37th Psalm exhorts us not to fret because of ungodly men, but to place our confidence, our trust, in the Lord and rejoice in Him. My dear brethren as we come to the end of this year and are now at the threshold of another, may we, through the assistance of the Holy Spirit, take on board these short, but full and helpful exhortations which we have here in the first seven verses of this Psalm.
1stly Fret not. In verses 1 and 2 we read, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.”
The word fret means to glow, to glow warm, to blaze up , burn, or be angry. Having a wood burner, I often have to give the fire a poke. After a few moments, sometimes a little longer, it suddenly blazes up, and burns fiercely. Here we are exhorted, not to blaze up or be angry in a sinful way against our enemies, or blaze up, or be angry at all, in any way, against the Lord our God.
1stly, let us not fret against our enemies in a sinful way. We are taught by the Lord to; “love thy neighbour as thyself.” We are to have a true and sincere love in our hearts for our fellowman, and even for our enemies. Our Lord said in Matthew 5, verses 44 & 45, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” God has a love, and so must we. We are to love them, bless them, do good to them and pray for them. Oh how they need our prayers! With these things in mind, let us fret not or be angry against them in a sinful way. The psalmist wrote, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.” He goes on to write, “For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. “ Matthew Henry wrote, “Their triumphing is short.” Consider for a moment what will soon happen to them, if they do not turn to the Lord in a way of belief and repentance. My dear friends, fret not, but earnestly pray for them.
2ndly, let us not fret at all against the Lord. Remember how Jonah was angry with the Lord after he had shown mercy towards Nineveh. In Jonah 4 verses 1 & 2 we read, “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the
We as the Lord's people who believe in, and take comfort in the Providence of God should never be angry with God for one moment, God forbid! In verse 8 we read “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. “ Let us flee this sin. Fret not!
2ndly Trust and Rest
“Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.”
Those who trust in the Lord, and do good, (their good works giving evidence of their faith in the Lord), are provided for by the Lord in a gracious and wonderful way in His providence here below, and will one day know the blessing of being with the Lord in heaven.
Now, here we are exhorted to trust in the Lord, rather than fret against Him, or our enemies. There is much to alarm us today, for many who are against us, however brethren, do not fret, but with a child-like faith, trust in the Lord. In Proverbs 3 : 5, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Do not lean upon your own understanding, for it soon gives way, look up to your God, your heavenly Father for He knows best.
Charles Hodge “It is a child-like, unwavering confidence in our Father's well proven wisdom, faithfulness, and love.” Oh for strong faith, for at times we are fearful and our faith seems weak.
The word 'trust', here in this place means, 'to place hope and confidence in one.' Now, as we have seen before, to trust is to have faith in the Lord. For example in Ephesians 1 : verses 12 & 13 we read, “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” My dear brethren, It is, come and welcome to Jesus Christ, and those who do, through the grace of God, are found trusting in the Lord. Oh dear brethren, trust in Him, humbly, in a child like manner, look to the Lord by faith to your promise-keeping, gracious, merciful and eternal God. In Isaiah 26 : 3 & 4 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:”
Now, as we have seen before, there are various denominations of faith which help us to understand what faith is, 'trusting' being one of them. With the help of the Rev John Willison, (1680 -1750), who ministered in Dundee from 1718, consider a few more;
1. Believing, Galatians 2 : 16
2. Coming unto Christ, John 6 : 35
3. Flying to Christ for refuge, Hebrews 6 : 18
4. Casting our burdens on Him, Psalm 55: 23
5. Leaning on Him, Song of Sol. 8 : 5
6. Looking unto Christ, Isaiah 45 : 22
7. Receiving Christ, John 1 : 12
8. Cleaving to Him, Acts 11 :23
9. Putting on Christ, Romans 13 : 14
10. Hungering and thirsting after Him, Matthew 5:6
11. Eating and drinking, John 6 :35
12. Entering, John 10 :9
13. Resting, Psalm 37 : 7
How precious is that description of faith in the Song of Solomon. “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” Leaning on the Beloved is the joyful and wonderful testimony of the people of God. We are also known as resting in Him.
Now, let me underline, these are not different acts of faith, but different denominations of faith, Ebenezer Erskine wrote “There are a great many denomination of faith, of the same Divine authority with these two mentioned in the answer of the Catechism, such as eating, drinking, fleeing, entering, coming, trusting, &c. But these are not different acts, but only different expressions of the saving act of faith.”
In verse 7 we read “Rest in the LORD”
The Hebrew word, translated here as rest, means 'to be dumb', 'silent', 'quiet', or to 'be still'.
Naomi told Ruth, in Ruth 3 : 18, “Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.” Ruth was concerned about what was going to happen, would Boaz be able to marry her?
Anxiety and panic can often set in, and as a result one is found vexed, wondering what is going to happen. At such a time we need to rest, that is, found exercising the grace of faith. If we are honest, is not easy for us to sit still at certain times in our lives. For some children it is very hard to do, especially when they are excited. Sometimes at the Youth meeting on Friday evening it is, “sit still, be quiet, sit still be quiet, I'm not going to start until every one is quiet, sit still”. My dear friends, the Lord says to us, “sit still”, “Rest”.In Proverbs 3 : 5 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Lean on the Lord, and rest in His infinite wisdom and wonderful Providence, not on your limited understanding.
The Psalmist in a time of great difficulty rested upon the Lord, and through the assistance of the Holy Spirit was found uttering those words found in Psalm 57,verses 1 & 2, “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.” In family difficulties, and those in the work place, in the community, and in the nation, how important it is to be found resting in the Lord. John Flavel wrote, “It is the duty of the saints, especially in times of straits, to reflect upon the performances of Providence for the them in all the states and through all the stages of their lives.” It is our duty, it is our pressing need, to be found, resting in the Lord.
In the coming year there may be many things on the horizon which may bring you much difficulty and cause you much inward pain, therefore my dear brethren, trust in Him. Rest in the Lord. In times of sorrow and in times of joy, let us all be found exercising faith in the Lord.
To be continued.