21 Days of Prayer and Fasting: Day 20

Day 20: May 23, 2017: Trust in the Lord and Do Good

Psalm 37:1-4: Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the green grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

From the morning newspaper to the evening news, and from our Facebook feed to our Twitter accounts, there are plenty of reasons today for “fretting” over evildoers. Anger, deceit, corruption, and violence seem to have multiplied in our world. It’s not just that the nations rage (Ps. 2) but that increasingly our schools and neighborhoods rage as well.

But the truth is that the flourishing of wickedness is nothing new. Remember what the world was like before the Flood: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). That is ancient history. Yet it is also as relevant as today’s news, because it shows us that the fundamental problem of human nature – the problem of sin – remains unchanged apart from the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.

How are we as followers of Jesus to conduct ourselves when “the wickedness of man” is “great in the earth”? Psalm 37 encourages us first of all not to worry. Evildoers come and go – like grass – but our holy God is eternal and he does not change (Ps. 102:25-28). Worry accomplishes nothing good (Mt. 6:27) and can actually lead to evil.

Instead of “fretting” Psalm 37 calls us to trust in the Lord and do good. As followers of Jesus we live by faith and not by sight, and we follow Jesus’ example of doing good to those in need and to those who are far from God. Further, we delight ourselves in the Lord. We can have joy – despite the problems of evil in the world – by focusing on God’s greatness and goodness. Let us each day remember that God’s steadfast love endures forever (Ps. 136) and find our delight in God’s nature and character. As we delight ourselves in the Lord – God will give us the desires of our hearts. When we desire God, God will give us what we want – which is more of Himself in our lives. The Pulpit Commentary states: “There is a deep secret of a happy life—must we not say a sadly neglected secret, even among real Christians? Unselfish delight in God is doubtless a high attainment. But is it out of reach? Surely not, when to the glorious knowledge of all that God is in himself is added the blessed certainty that he is our Father in Christ Jesus. This should be sunshine in darkest days.”

We can begin and end each day by turning our hearts to the God who is our Father through Jesus Christ, rejoicing in him, and committing ourselves to do good as he gives us opportunity.

Take time now to reaffirm your trust in the Lord. This prayer can help you get started: “Lord, sometimes I worry because of all the evil in the world. Help me, Lord, not to fret but to trust in you. I delight in you because you are good and your steadfast love never changes. Give me strength through your Holy Spirit to do good to others as Jesus Christ has shown me. In the name of Jesus, Amen.” 

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