Which of these two questions causes you to squirm the most: Why do seemingly honorable people suffer? or Why do the people who do bad things prosper? I wrestle with both of them. For instance, it makes we wonder why people who strike unethical deals and cheat on their contracts seem to get away with their schemes and even prosper, while someone who is seeking to live for Jesus struggles to pay his or her bills.
Psalm 37 has some answers for life’s tough questions. It’s one of the many “wisdom psalms” in the Bible (others include Psalms 1,14,25,34,49,73), which address the issues and doubts that can arise in life. These psalms are ancient songs that provide wisdom for how to process life’s questions and confusions even when things aren’t going well (Psalm 37:30).
In the psalm, David deals with the unfairness and injustices of life. He looks ahead and warns of the bitter future for those who choose to live life apart from God. “For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither” (Psalm 37:2). David wants us to understand that there will be accountability in the next life when we chose to live for self in this one. Those who do so “have no future” (Psalm 37:38).
By contrast, the life rescued by God is able to focus on His ultimate justice instead of life’s apparent inequities. David encourages the child of God to be still in His presence, wait patiently for Him to act, and continue to live in Him and His grace (Psalm 37:3-8,27).
Why? Because He “holds them by the hand” (Psalm 37:23-24). What great encouragement when we feel life is unfair! Not only is God with us, but He promises that we can find salvation and shelter in Him (Psalm 37:28-29).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 5:31-48
Read Psalm 73 and see how Asaph struggled with the perplexing issue of the prosperity of the wicked. What was his conclusion (Psalm 73:17), and how is it similar to David’s conclusion in Psalm 37:1-20?
Consider the wisdom of Psalm 37:16. Why do you agree or disagree with this instruction? What unfair events in your life do you need to bring to Jesus in prayer today?