Are you familiar with the Book of Psalms? A psalm is a sacred song or hymn … particularly any of those contained in the biblical Book of Psalms. Many of the psalms were words with music, and therefore there is a smooth rhythm to the lines and phrases. The books of Psalms have been called “biblical poetry.”
How many of us are constantly looking for books to help us with our daily lives? I think we can all admit that we need all the help we can get … right? The first part of the thirty-seventh psalm could be titled “The Daily Survival Guide.” Let’s see what is in this biblical guide.
Seven of the forty verses in this chapter have everything we need in five steps.
1. Do not transport yourself
2. Trust in the Lord
3. Delight yourself in the Lord
4. Commit your way to the Lord
5. Be still and rest in the Lord
As we all know, there is effort involved in implementing any good plan and this is certainly the case here. I’ll look at each step in a moment, but first, I think it’s interesting to note that the active verb in each step is an action that needs to be done over and over again. We don’t do the “5-step program” once and have it all together. Oh, we could do it for a minute or two … but then life takes over again. Here, God gives us the tools to work continuously.
In this article, I want to see the definition of each of these verbs and share some images of words with you.
1. Do not transport yourself
Fret actually has two definitions that fit verse 1.
The first definition is being anxious or allowing something to bite us.
That is the kind of concern we do with the evil that surrounds us and threatens our families on a daily basis. God says don’t let it bite you like a dog slowly bites a bone.
The second definition is to get irritated or complain.
Two of the most common things to worry about are evil people and their presence in our lives AND seeing evil people get away with the evil they do. (I’ve been guilty of wondering why God doesn’t just strike certain people with lightning.) But God says don’t let this irritate you. Chafing is an uncomfortable condition, especially if the source of the chafing continues. We can all relate to a clothing tag or a bra that pushes us, bites us, or rubs us while we are wearing them. Not only does it cause irritation and maybe even pain, it also makes our disposition bitter and irritable.
Please note that there are no “conditions” set in this first step. The Lord says very simply “don’t worry”.
2. Trust in the Lord.
Confidence is a firm belief in the reality, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
The concept here is to support your entire personality in God. This is the kind of confidence we show whenever we lean against a wall or sit in a chair. It is that sweet innocence that allows a child to jump into the arms of his father without a moment’s hesitation. There is complete confidence and faith in the ability of their parents not to abandon them. So it will be with our Lord.
3. Delight yourself in the Lord.
Delight means: delight in savage abandon.
Luxuriate probably conjures up different snapshots for each of you, but they all have a common theme. They involve something that we love to do, that we probably don’t do often enough … if hardly ever, and if we could, we would experience it over and over again because it gives us so much enjoyment. It can be a day of pampering at the spa, or dipping your toes in the sand as you walk along a deserted beach, or fellowship and laughter with old friends.
When was the last time you feasted on the Lord with savage abandon?
4. Commit your way to the Lord.
Engaging is “send to lockdown.”
We need to consciously send our ways, yours and mine, to the Lord, where they will be confined. Ooh … that means they won’t be our ways anymore, right? We will have to give up control! And as if that wasn’t awkward enough, it also involves exerting energy while releasing / sending our paths. Energy that can be difficult to find on a day-to-day basis. However, I like to think of it as going to my safe deposit box. We make the journey with our treasures and confine them in a small box, why? Because we know that they will be safe and in perfect condition there.
Our ways are safe when we are committed to God.
5. Be still and rest in the Lord.
“To be still” literally means to be without movement.
What a strange thought in this busy world, yet this is where we have to be to survive every day.
The psalmist goes on to say “rest in the Lord.”
The thought here is “stay for action or achievement”!
You will see that it is up to the Lord to accomplish the task. Whether the task is insignificant or monumental, OR we mean the task of LIFE itself from start to finish, we can … and must continually find time to be as still as a silkworm in its cocoon. She stands still waiting for the action, an action that will transform her into a butterfly!
Interestingly, while “be still and rest in the Lord” has been placed last, it is actually both the first and the last step. We must be still and rest so as not to worry, trust, delight, and commit ourselves to our wonderful Lord. But the opposite is also true, that if we don’t care, trust, delight, and commit ourselves to God, we will be still and rest.
What an incredible amount of survival counseling is included in this biblical poetry. God in his goodness has given us the complete guide to survive, and much more than just survive, in this world.