Do not fret because of the wicked;
do not be envious of wrongdoers,
for they will soon fade like the grass,
and wither like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
The encouragement from the psalmist is to turn our attention away from the wicked, which causes us to fret and to envy, and to turn our attention to God and the delight we share in living in dependence on Him and trusting that our life attuned to Him will fulfill us.
- When have you experienced your focus on the wicked leading to fear or envy?
- How do you experience God’s invitation to turn your attention to Him?
- Where do you see others taking delight in the Lord and what can you learn from them?
Gracious God, in a culture where we can be bombarded by bad news that causes us fear or instills envy, tune our ears and hearts to hear your voice inviting us into a place of security. Thank you for those in our lives who exemplify the trust you desire for us and help us to learn from them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make your vindication shine like the light,
and the justice of your cause like the noonday.
Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
over those who carry out evil devices.
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
There are so many practical invitations in these verses, spoken by a man who heard God inviting him to continually focus on what He was doing. As we read these verses, it’s good to be reminded of the rest and stillness that comes when we can trust in God and his promises.
- What invitation or promise in this passage stirs your heart today and why?
- How are you reflecting stillness and patience before God?
- Who can you encourage today with the promise of God’s goodness?
Gracious God, thank you for your invitations to step away from those attitudes and practices that cloud our vision of you and to step toward your desires for us. We relinquish the things that cause us to fret and ask that you will replace it with your stillness and patience in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.
But the meek shall inherit the land,
and delight in abundant prosperity.
The wicked plot against the righteous,
and gnash their teeth at them;
but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that their day is coming.
The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to kill those who walk uprightly;
their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.
As we read these verses, there might be a nagging sense that this is not the reality that we see today in our world. Wickedness seems so deeply rooted everywhere we look. In the midst of our view of reality and experience, we are invited to trust that God sees something different.
- What do you desire for God to show you about the end of wickedness?
- What will it look like to live in a world where the meek inherit the land?
- How are you living in a way that honors the meek the way the psalmist does?
Gracious God, in these verses it is difficult to understand what you see that we cannot see. We receive your promises that “yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more.” Help us to be agents of your kingdom in the world that honors meekness over the ways of wickedness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Better is a little that the righteous person has
than the abundance of many wicked.
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will abide for ever;
they are not put to shame in evil times,
in the days of famine they have abundance.
The psalmist provides a description of what it means to live righteously in the midst of the world, where the righteous have enough and are upheld; where their days are noted by God and they can live without shame or fear of starvation.
What promises in these verses are a prayer to God for you?
Who in your life needs the words of this psalm to be spoken over them on their behalf?
Where are you experiencing abundance?
Gracious God, the new we hear can give us a sense that there is no relief, no abundance, no provision for those who are blameless. And yet, we listen to you and attune ourselves to your voice that we may see and recognize the ways that you are caring for your children. Help us to be your agents of provision to those you bring our way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
But the wicked perish,
and the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
The wicked borrow, and do not pay back,
but the righteous are generous and keep giving;
for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,
but those cursed by him shall be cut off.
The psalmist returns to reminding the readers of the short lives the evil lead. Tucked in the middle of the bad news for the wicked is the good news for the blessed of the Lord. He promises that we are moving toward a time when those whom God has blessed will inherit that land.
- What might it look like to live today as one who will inherit the land?
- How easy is it to give the evil as little power as the psalmist seems to?
- Who needs to be reminded today of their inheritance as a child of God? How can you do that?
Gracious God, give us your perspective in a world that seems at times to be teeming with wickedness. You do not wring your hands so let that not be a part of our experience. Help us to live today as those who are your heirs. In Jesus’ name, Amen.