Lectionary Calendar
Friday, December 1st, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 37

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-40

  1. Intro:
    1. Security - In the aftermath of the attacks that toppled the World Trade Center, an Israeli company is offering high-rise workers a new security option. APCO Aviation is now marketing a parachute for those fear terrorist attacks on skyscrapers. The Executive chute was designed, tested & marketed in 3 weeks. The safety chute weighs 4 lbs. & is available in the US & Japan. The ripcord can be attached to heavy furniture, so it opens automatically when the wearer jumps out a window. The managing director of the company says the parachute uses a military style round canopy instead of an aerobatic rectangular design. He says a round chute makes for a reliable, but hard landing from a minimum height of 10 stories. The company admits it is unlikely a user will know how to do the standard "paratrooper roll" upon reaching the ground, but they figure, "a twisted ankle is a small price to pay for life." Parachutes & increased precautions may provide a degree of protection, but they cannot remove every ounce of fear. (http:dailynews.yahoo.com November 12, 2001. Illustration by Jim L. Wilson and Jim Sandell)
      1. Jesus offered these words of assurance/security to those living in an unpredictable world. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Jn.16:33
      2. How do you battle fears, insecurities, frustrations with others? Lets hear from David.
    2. Title: Parachute = [Fr.] para(protection against) chute(fall)
    3. Here, an old man reviews the past (25) & gives us some wise counsel to keep us from second guessing God, when things just aren't going our way.
      1. David had battled with evil men. David knew the frustration of seeing the wicked prosper & the righteous suffer.
    4. There is no finer exposition of the 3rd Beatitude (Mt.5:5) than this Psalm, from which it is drawn. (see vs.11).
      1. It speaks to man, not to God. It’s similar to the Proverbs. Ps.49 & 73 deal w/same.
      2. It’s message is to the righteous man’s security.
      3. The framework is an acrostic, with a fresh letter of the Hebrew alphabet to introduce each double verse. (1-2, 3-4, etc.)
    5. Abe Lincoln story - Joseph Sizoo was pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington where Abraham Lincoln often attended. Among Sizoo’s most memorable moments was the day he held Lincoln’s own Bible - the same Bible from which Lincoln’s mother had read to him as a child. Sizoo remembers, “Book in my hand, I wondered where it would fall open. It opened to a page which was thumb-marked and which he must have read many times. It was the 37th Psalm...Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” (Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 12)
    6. Do not fret - Do not get heated. (Derick Kidner, Psalms 1-72 pg.148.)
      1. Usually a sign of fretting/heated/angry is one with his/her fist clenched.
        1. If your fist is clenched, your hand is not open to receive what God wants to give you.
    1. If you walk by sight & not by faith, you’ll find it easy to fret.
    2. Yes, the wicked may prosper, but they will not last (35,36).
      1. This is called having the Long View (look ahead) - see vs.2,10.
    3. Believe what God says in His Word because that is where you find reality.
    4. Trust means to believe His promises and to know that He is such a wonderful God that He can always be trusted.
      1. We trust people because of their good character or performance.
      2. God’s character is perfect and His record is perfect.
    5. (3b) Feed on His faithfulness - (think sheep analogy).
      1. Enjoy security; graze safely.
    1. ​​​​​​​Find all your joy & pleasure in His will.
    2. Make Him your delight, and your desires will be in His will.
    3. Living to please the Lord sets you free from fretting about what men are doing.
    1. ​​​​​​​When you trust in Him & you delight in Him, how could you do anything other than commit your way to Him?
    2. Let God guide your steps, choose your joys, protect your name, & bless your work.
    3. Bring it to pass - What is the it? Bring what to pass?
      1. God will bring to pass the thing that does you the most good and that brings Him the most glory!
    4. Commit your way or Roll your way - This is a definite act of our will.
      1. We do not commit it to the Lord & then take it back, anymore than a farmer plants his seed & then keeps digging it up to see if it’s growing!
      2. Committing our way to the Lord is an act of the will, an act of faith.
      3. We make our way His way, and we make His way our way.
    5. We think commiting our all to the Lord is like taking a $l,000 bill and laying it on the table, “Here’s my life, Lord. I’m commiting it all.”
      1. ​​​​​​​But the reality for most of us is that we go to the bank & we cash in the $l,000 for quarters, then we go through life putting out 25¢ here & 50¢ there.
    1. ​​​​​​​Restlessness is an evidence of unbelief.
      1. Faith rests in the Lord & enjoys the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. (Phil.4:7)
      2. God sometimes waits in answering prayer so that He might strengthen our patience. (James 1:2-8)
    2. Martin Luther, “‘Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him.’ In Hebrew, ‘be silent to God & let Him mold thee.’ Keep still and He will mold thee to the right shape.”
      1. Can you imagine trying to mold play-dough or clay...if it was wiggling?
      2. Luther also translated it, ‘be silent to God & let Him hold thee.’
        1. Wait for Him. He’s working in you and on you while He’s working for you.
    3. (11) Meekness? (power under control) - speaks to those who choose the way of patient faith instead of self-assertion.
    4. God knows how much we need (16) and all of His wealth is available to us.
      1. What good is a million dollar house if it is not a home?
      2. What good is it to have a huge bank account if our values are not right?
      3. David’s saying it’s better to have a little & have God (because then we have everything) than to have much & not have God.
    5. God knows how much we can take (17)
      1. He knows how great a burden we can bear, how fierce a battle we can fight.
      2. When God puts us in the furnace, He always keeps his eye on the thermometer & His hand on the thermostat.
    6. God knows the days that we will live (18)
      1. He has a plan for your life (sounds like a Christian cliche, but its true)
      2. When we go on our Israel trips, Shalom the Operator/Owner of Coral Travel; Yossi our Tour Guide; & our Bus driver, take care of everything. They know where we are going & what they are doing during our whole trip.
        1. Myself & our whole group can then kick back, let them do the driving...and the worrying.
      3. Thats how God wants us to live. He wants us to leave everything to Him, because He know what we need; how much we can take; & what will happen each day.
        1. We don’t need to worry. We can live a day at a time. We need to trust in Him.
    7. (21,22) Someone has said When your outgo exceeds your income, then your upkeep is your downfall.
      1. ​​​​​​​Here David shows 2 different attitudes toward life: How much can I give? And How much can I get?
        1. There’s no problem with an honest debt or loan. But the wicked go through life depending on others by borrowing from them. The believers go through life inheriting because we are His children & we are in His will.
          1. He’s written our names into His last will & testament.
          2. Jesus Christ died on the cross to probate His own will. Now we are living on that inheritance. (Warren Wiersbe, Prayer Praise & Promises. Day 88.)
      2. Are you going through life borrowing? Borrowing happiness, wisdom & joy? Or, Are you going through life inheriting? Drawing from that marvelous spiritual account in the Lord Jesus Christ?
        1. The wicked go through life thinking only of getting; God’s people go through life thinking only of giving, of sharing w/others & showing mercy.
      3. No matter what you are facing today, don’t be afraid or alarmed. He has everything to live a happy, holy & victorious life.
    8. (23,24) He not only orders our steps but He knows our stops as well.
      1. He knows/watches when you’ve stumbled, and He’s right there to pick you up and get you started again.
      2. Cut down but not destroyed - material calamity rather than a moral plunge. (context)
        1. There will be ups & downs, but His hand is steady.
  6. WAIT ON THE LORD (34)
    1. ​​​​​​​Take the Long View (34-40)
    2. What are you waiting for? The inheritance God has for you. (see 11, 18, 22, 29, 34)
      1. The wicked have only temporary pleasure on earth, but God’s people have eternal treasure in heaven.
      2. You will one day receive your inheritance, so be patient.
        1. So, you can do your best to gain the whole world & lose your soul; or, lose self, & gain eternal life...& have the whole world thrown in.
      3. Wow, hold onto his last words. (39,40)
    3. Gurkhas are best known for their history of bravery and strength in the Indian Army's Gorkha regiments. The Gurkhas were naturally warlike and aggressive in battle, & possessed qualities of courage, loyalty, self sufficiency, physical strength, resilience, orderliness, the ability to work hard for long periods of time, & their fighting tenacity & military strategy.
      1. “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha.”
      2. In his book One Crowded Hour, Tim Bowden describes an incident in Borneo in 1964. Nepalese fighters known as Gurkhas were asked if they would be willing to jump from airplanes into combat against the Indonesians. The Gurkhas didn’t clearly understand what was involved, but they bravely said they would do it, asking only that the plane fly slowly over a swampy area and no higher than 100 feet. When they were told that the parachutes would not have time to open at that height, the Gurkhas replied, “Oh, you didn’t mention parachutes!”
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Psalms 37". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/psalms-37.html. 2017.
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