SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
37:1 By David.
Do not fret when wicked men seem to succeed.
Do not envy evildoers.
2 For they will quickly dry up like grass,
and wither away like plants.
3 Trust in the Lord and do what is right.
Settle in the land and maintain your integrity.
4 Then you will take delight in the Lord,
and he will answer your prayers.
5 Commit your future to the Lord.
Trust in him, and he will act on your behalf.
6 He will vindicate you in broad daylight,
and publicly defend your just cause.
7 Wait patiently for the Lord!
Wait confidently for him!
Do not fret over the apparent success of a sinner,
a man who carries out wicked schemes.
8 Do not be angry and frustrated.
Do not fret. That only leads to trouble.
9 Wicked men will be wiped out,
but those who rely on the Lord are the ones who will possess the land.
10 Evil men will soon disappear;
you will stare at the spot where they once were, but they will be gone.
11 But the oppressed will possess the land
and enjoy great prosperity.
12 Evil men plot against the godly
and viciously attack them.
13 The Lord laughs in disgust at them,
for he knows that their day is coming.
14 Evil men draw their swords
and prepare their bows,
to bring down the oppressed and needy,
and to slaughter those who are godly.
15 Their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
16 The little bit that a godly man owns is better than
the wealth of many evil men,
17 for evil men will lose their power,
but the Lord sustains the godly.
18 The Lord watches over the innocent day by day,
and they possess a permanent inheritance.
19 They will not be ashamed when hard times come;
when famine comes they will have enough to eat.
20 But evil men will die;
the Lord’s enemies will be incinerated—
they will go up in smoke.
21 Evil men borrow, but do not repay their debt,
but the godly show compassion and are generous.
22 Surely those favored by the Lord will possess the land,
but those rejected by him will be wiped out.
23 The Lord grants success to the one
whose behavior he finds commendable.
24 Even if he trips, he will not fall headlong,
for the Lord holds his hand.
25 I was once young, now I am old.
I have never seen the godly abandoned,
or their children forced to search for food.
26 All day long they show compassion and lend to others,
and their children are blessed.
27 Turn away from evil. Do what is right.
Then you will enjoy lasting security.
28 For the Lord promotes justice,
and never abandons his faithful followers.
They are permanently secure,
but the children of the wicked are wiped out.
29 The godly will possess the land
and will dwell in it permanently.
30 The godly speak wise words
and promote justice.
31 The law of their God controls their thinking;
their feet do not slip.
32 The wicked set an ambush for the godly
and try to kill them.
33 But the Lord does not surrender the godly,
or allow them to be condemned in a court of law.
34 Rely on the Lord. Obey his commands.
Then he will permit you to possess the land;
you will see the demise of the wicked.
35 I have seen ruthless, wicked people
growing in influence, like a green tree grows in its native soil.
36 But then one passes by, and suddenly they have disappeared.
I looked for them, but they could not be found.
37 Take note of the one who has integrity. Observe the upright.
For the one who promotes peace has a future.
38 Sinful rebels are totally destroyed;
the wicked have no future.
39 But the Lord delivers the godly;
he protects them in times of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and rescues them;
he rescues them from the wicked and delivers them,
for they seek his protection.
38:1 A psalm of David, written to get God’s attention.
O Lord, do not continue to rebuke me in your anger.
Do not continue to punish me in your raging fury.
2 For your arrows pierce me,
and your hand presses me down.
3 My whole body is sick because of your judgment;
I am deprived of health because of my sin.
4 For my sins overwhelm me;
like a heavy load, they are too much for me to bear.
5 My wounds are infected and starting to smell,
because of my foolish sins.
6 I am dazed and completely humiliated;
all day long I walk around mourning.
7 For I am overcome with shame,
and my whole body is sick.
8 I am numb with pain and severely battered;
I groan loudly because of the anxiety I feel.
9 O Lord, you understand my heart’s desire;
my groaning is not hidden from you.
10 My heart beats quickly;
my strength leaves me.
I can hardly see.
11 Because of my condition, even my friends and acquaintances keep their distance;
my neighbors stand far away.
12 Those who seek my life try to entrap me;
those who want to harm me speak destructive words.
All day long they say deceitful things.
13 But I am like a deaf man—I hear nothing;
I am like a mute who cannot speak.
14 I am like a man who cannot hear
and is incapable of arguing his defense.
15 Yet I wait for you, O Lord!
You will respond, O Lord, my God!
16 I have prayed for deliverance, because otherwise they will gloat over me;
when my foot slips they will arrogantly taunt me.
17 For I am about to stumble,
and I am in constant pain.
18 Yes, I confess my wrongdoing,
and I am concerned about my sins.
19 But those who are my enemies for no reason are numerous;
those who hate me without cause outnumber me.
20 They repay me evil for the good I have done;
though I have tried to do good to them, they hurl accusations at me.
21 Do not abandon me, O Lord.
My God, do not remain far away from me.
22 Hurry and help me, O Lord, my deliverer.
39:1 For the music director, Jeduthun; a psalm of David.
I decided, “I will watch what I say
and make sure I do not sin with my tongue.
I will put a muzzle over my mouth
while in the presence of an evil person.”
2 I was stone silent;
I held back the urge to speak.
My frustration grew;
3 my anxiety intensified.
As I thought about it, I became impatient.
Finally I spoke these words:
4 “O Lord, help me understand my mortality
and the brevity of life.
Let me realize how quickly my life will pass.
5 Look, you make my days short lived,
and my life span is nothing from your perspective.
Surely all people, even those who seem secure, are nothing but vapor. (Selah)
6 Surely people go through life as mere ghosts.
Surely they accumulate worthless wealth
without knowing who will eventually haul it away.”
7 But now, O Lord, upon what am I relying?
You are my only hope!
8 Deliver me from all my sins of rebellion.
Do not make me the object of fools’ insults.
9 I am silent and cannot open my mouth
because of what you have done.
10 Please stop wounding me.
You have almost beaten me to death.
11 You severely discipline people for their sins;
like a moth you slowly devour their strength.
Surely all people are a mere vapor. (Selah)
12 Hear my prayer, O Lord.
Listen to my cry for help.
Do not ignore my sobbing.
For I am a resident foreigner with you,
a temporary settler, just as all my ancestors were.
13 Turn your angry gaze away from me, so I can be happy
before I pass away.
40:1 For the music director, a psalm of David.
I relied completely on the Lord,
and he turned toward me
and heard my cry for help.
2 He lifted me out of the watery pit,
out of the slimy mud.
He placed my feet on a rock
and gave me secure footing.
3 He gave me reason to sing a new song,
praising our God.
May many see what God has done,
so that they might swear allegiance to him and trust in the Lord.
4 How blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord
and does not seek help from the proud or from liars.
5 O Lord, my God, you have accomplished many things;
you have done amazing things and carried out your purposes for us.
No one can thwart you.
I want to declare your deeds and talk about them,
but they are too numerous to recount.
6 Receiving sacrifices and offerings are not your primary concern.
You make that quite clear to me.
You do not ask for burnt sacrifices and sin offerings.
7 Then I say,
“Look, I come!
What is written in the scroll pertains to me.
8 I want to do what pleases you, my God.
Your law dominates my thoughts.”
9 I have told the great assembly about your justice.
Look, I spare no words.
O Lord, you know this is true.
10 I have not failed to tell about your justice;
I spoke about your reliability and deliverance.
I have not neglected to tell the great assembly about your loyal love and faithfulness.
11 O Lord, you do not withhold your compassion from me.
May your loyal love and faithfulness continually protect me!
12 For innumerable dangers surround me.
My sins overtake me
so I am unable to see;
they outnumber the hairs of my head
so my strength fails me.