Questions Day 10 Why Does Evil Flourish?: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
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The Questions

1) Why does the psalmist exhort the reader to “not be agitated by evildoers”? (verse 1)

2) How does studying the past provide hope for the future?

3) According to this psalm, what is the true source of hope that survives even in trouble and suffering?

Psalm 37

Do not be agitated by evildoers;
do not envy those who do wrong.
For they wither quickly like grass
and wilt like tender green plants.

Trust in the Lord and do what is good;
dwell in the land and live securely.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act,
making your righteousness shine like the dawn,
your justice like the noonday.

Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for him;
do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way,
by the person who carries out evil plans.

Refrain from anger and give up your rage;
do not be agitated—it can only bring harm.
For evildoers will be destroyed,
but those who put their hope in the Lord
will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked person will be no more;
though you look for him, he will not be there.
11 But the humble will inherit the land
and will enjoy abundant prosperity.

12 The wicked person schemes against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him.
13 The Lord laughs at him
because he sees that his day is coming.

14 The wicked have drawn the sword and strung the bow
to bring down the poor and needy
and to slaughter those whose way is upright.
15 Their swords will enter their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.

16 The little that the righteous person has is better
than the abundance of many wicked people.
17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken,
but the Lord supports the righteous.

18 The Lord watches over the blameless all their days,
and their inheritance will last forever.
19 They will not be disgraced in times of adversity;
they will be satisfied in days of hunger.

20 But the wicked will perish;
the Lord’s enemies, like the glory of the pastures,
will fade away—
they will fade away like smoke.

21 The wicked person borrows and does not repay,
but the righteous one is gracious and giving.
22 Those who are blessed by the Lord will inherit the land,
but those cursed by him will be destroyed.

23 A person’s steps are established by the Lord,
and he takes pleasure in his way.
24 Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed,
because the Lord supports him with his hand.

25 I have been young and now I am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned
or his children begging for bread.
26 He is always generous, always lending,
and his children are a blessing.

27 Turn away from evil, do what is good,
and settle permanently.
28 For the Lord loves justice
and will not abandon his faithful ones.
They are kept safe forever,
but the children of the wicked will be destroyed.
29 The righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it permanently.

30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom;
his tongue speaks what is just.
31 The instruction of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not falter.

32 The wicked one lies in wait for the righteous
and intends to kill him;
33 the Lord will not leave him
in the power of the wicked one
or allow him to be condemned when he is judged.

34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land.
You will watch when the wicked are destroyed.

35 I have seen a wicked, violent person
well-rooted, like a flourishing native tree.
36 Then I passed by and noticed he was gone;
I searched for him, but he could not be found.

37 Watch the blameless and observe the upright,
for the person of peace will have a future.
38 But transgressors will all be eliminated;
the future of the wicked will be destroyed.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord,
their refuge in a time of distress.
40 The Lord helps and delivers them;
he will deliver them from the wicked and will save them
because they take refuge in him.

Original Intent

1) Why does the psalmist exhort the reader to “not be agitated by evildoers”? (verse 1)
This psalm is referred to as a Wisdom psalm, categorized differently than Lament or Worship psalms.  This particular psalm was written when King David was an old man (verse 25). Most theologians agree it was written to David’s son Solomon as he prepared to take the throne after David’s death and build the Temple. (1 Kings 5:5) Throughout the entire psalm David mentions evil, wicked people, and difficult trials so as to remind Solomon he will encounter many who are against the plans of God.  Those who are more prosperous or successful than he should not be envied. Solomon is not to worry about them because their end has already been decided, eternity apart from God. (verse 35-36) Only by building a life on the firm foundation of God’s wisdom can we live with His peace. (verse 34) David wants Solomon to know that envy and covetousness don’t bring honest gain. David encourages his son to stand fast in his faith and trust God to work everything for God’s glory in the end. (verse 24)

2) How does studying the past provide hope for the future?
We see David in old age (verse 25) in this psalm as he likely was looking back on his life and key lessons he had learned. Hindsight is always 20/20. David learned throughout His life that God was ultimately in control even if his immediate circumstances weren’t instantly turned to David’s favor. (verses 7-8) He had come to know God’s plans and His wisdom was better than David’s. (verses 5-6) Even in David’s sin, God still never abandoned him or gave up on him. (verse 24) He continued to see over and over how the Lord remained faithful regardless of David’s faithfulness, or lack thereof, to the Lord. (verses 25-26) God had been with him when he confronted Goliath and came out the victor because God fought for him. (1 Samuel 17:37) God had been with him when King Saul was determined to kill him. (1 Samuel 19:1-2) God used those circumstances to bring victory to Israel and provide David with a friend who was closer than a brother in King Saul’s son Jonathan. (1 Samuel 20:17) When he sinned in adultery with Bathsheba and then committed murder in attempt to cover his sin, God did not abandon, but sent a prophet to convict David of his sin and call him to repentance. (2 Samuel 12:1-9) After David’s repentance, God redeemed their marriage and gave them a son, Solomon, who would later take over the kingdom. God continued to be faithful to David!

3) According to this psalm, what is the true source of hope that survives even in trouble and suffering?
While David could see the Lord’s faithfulness throughout his own life, He also could see God’s character on display through the records of the Torah (what we know as the first five books of the Old Testament written largely by Moses) and the prophets. Through other’s testimonies, David had second-hand experience of God’s sovereignty and protection of the righteous and the destruction of the wicked. (verses 28-29) He found God to be trustworthy like no other source. (verse 34) Everyone else, and everything else, would fail David, even his own plans, (verses 35-36) but God would always be trustworthy and faithful. (verses 5-6) David knew God would not make promises without following through on His word. (verse 7) God is just.  David knew God would mete out His own justice to those who did wrong, which is why he continually states how the wicked will fall.  (verse 10) God had been faithful to David all these years proving God’s character to David and in this he could put his solid, unshakeable hope while pointing his son, Solomon, towards the same Faithful God.

Everyday Application

1) Why does the psalmist exhort the reader to “not be agitated by evildoers”? (verse 1)
It’s easy to get caught up in seeing those around us who are more prosperous, more successful, or have been chosen for something while we have been overlooked.  We can hyper focus on that because our tendency is to be self-centered. If we know someone achieved their means through deceitful, underhanded measures, then our natural inclination is to be frustrated, feeling like we will never attain our goal. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 5:5, reiterates David’s words in verse 11, “the meek shall inherit the earth”.  The meek, the humble, those who do not give into evil ways will inherit something much finer than worldly success and prosperity. This perspective was critically important to David as he passed it on to his son, Solomon, and it’s just as important for us today as we navigate trial, struggle, and evil on all sides. We know Who holds the final victory, God Almighty. One day, the wicked will not be blessed. They will get justice.  Those who follow Christ will get a far better reward, eternity with Him!

2) How does studying the past provide hope for the future?
David was sharing his testimony of God’s faithfulness and how he had come to know the Lord’s character through the events of his life, but his experience testifies of something bigger yet to come for all of us. It’s as if he had read Revelation, the final book of the New Testament, where Christ reveals how our freedom from evil and evil doers will one day happen for all eternity. (Revelation 21:5-8) Our battles, trials, and struggles here on earth are only momentary, even though they seem large and unceasing now. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) It’s not always easy to look back into our past. It can be quite painful at times! But as we look back, we can see how God was present, working all things for our good as He led us to know Him more deeply. Even if we didn’t know God at all in portions of our past, His hand can still be traced as He intentionally led us here, knowing Him deeper. When we look through the lens of God who is constantly faithful, we, like David, can testify of God’s loving, faithful work in moments large and small! Take some time to consider and maybe even write down where you have seen Him. Where has He held you close? (Isaiah 41:10) Where have you been grateful for the Hope you have in Him that doesn’t change regardless of circumstance? (Titus 2:13-14) God knows the beginning of our stories, our endings, and every messy middle moment as well.  Psalm 37:23-24 is still relevant to us today.  The Lord will establish the steps of those committed to following Him and the Lord will faithfully uphold us. We can look back and see just where God lead and directed our steps.  Even as we fell short and strayed from His path, God is still holding us, still leading us. He will never leave us nor forsake us! (Deuteronomy 31:6)

3) According to this psalm, what is the true source of hope that survives even in trouble and suffering?
David only had access to a few books of what we know today as the Bible. Much hadn’t been written yet! We have the benefit of studying deeper and understanding the fullness of God’s plan of redemption through Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Not only can we see where God was faithful to the Kings and Old Testament heroes and heroines of the faith, but we can see where Jesus showed Himself faithful as He walked on the earth, gave Himself up to death in our place, and rose again from the dead just as He said He would! We can also see other believers’ journeys and struggles after Christ’s resurrection and ascension back into Heaven. Their trials help us relate to them, while the continued faithfulness of God encourages and comforts our hearts as we struggle. We have His promise that every trial we go through will be worked out for our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28) We know He invites us to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) Peter had witnessed intense persecution firsthand along with wondering why wicked things are allowed to happen and evil permitted to run rampant, but he knew how deeply Jesus cares. He is as close as the mention of His name, ready and able to draw us near, and give us His peace in the midst of our storms.  We can know that our difficult situations or difficult people are momentary, while what He achieved for us and is holding as inheritance for us, will last an eternity beyond our comprehension. His death, burial, and resurrection gives us the promise that all things will be made new for those who believe and trust Him with all that we are. We can have hope of His faithful presence on this earth and hope of life in His eternal kingdom. This Hope is unshakeable and we can rest the full weight of ourselves upon it!

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2) Read it, and the verses around it,
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3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
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other related verses!). (
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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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