Psalm 37 contains 40 verses, therefore it is too long to print here. Please read the entire psalm and notice the following:
1. There are 9 verses that begin with "action" words.
1. Verse 1 begins with the word "Fret".
2. Verse 3 begins with the word "trust".
3. Verse 4 begins with the word "delight".
4. Verse 5 begins with the word "commit".
5. Verse 7 begins with the word "rest".
6. Verse 8 begins with the word "cease".
7. Verse 27 begins with the word "depart".
8. Verse 34 begins with the word "wait".
9. Verse 37 begins with the word "mark".
2. The rest of the verses do not begin with "action" words, but are rather descriptive of the verses they follow.
3. The nine points of the Psalm contain a progression of Christian growth from the point of fretting (worrying), to finally being able to mark the upright man.
The Progressive Steps of Psalms 37
1. FRET NOT. This is the very first step in learning to lean upon the Lord. Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, but it is not our place to worry and fret about them. We must remember that verse 2 says the evil person shall be cut off.
2. TRUST IN THE LORD. We might think it would be best to start trusting in the Lord before we stop fretting, but the Bible gives us the correct order. We must not consecrate on the evil people, but consecrate on the good we can do. God will always supply our needs.
3. DELIGHT THYSELF IN THE LORD. There is evil going on all around us, but we are not to look at it. Look instead at the Word of God and He shall give the desire of our heart. Of course, our desire will not be for materialism, but for spiritual blessings.
4. COMMIT THY WAY TO THE LORD. While we are working on the first three steps, we begin to commit our way to the Lord, allowing Him to bring to pass the desires of our heart. He will reveal our righteousness and judgment.
5. REST IN THE LORD. We all want to rest in the Lord, but we never will be able to rest in Him until we have completed the four steps listed above. Verse 7 tells us that when we rest in the LORD, we also wait on Him, and stop fretting about evil. This leads us to the next step.
6. CEASE FROM ANGER. Being able to control our temper is hard, but it can be done if we follow the outline of this Psalm. First, fretting, which eventually leads to anger, must stop. Next we trust in the Lord, then delight ourselves in His ways, then commit ourselves to Him, then rest in Him, then cease from anger. This may seem to be a round about way to stop being angry, but this is the only method that will work.
7. DEPART FROM EVIL. A lot of people try to stop sinning, but find themselves unable to resist Satan's attacks. This is because they have not followed God's order. It is impossible to stay away from evil before we have learned the first six steps: stop fretting, begin trusting in the Lord, delighting in His ways, committing our ways to Him, resting in the Lord, and ceasing from anger.
8. WAIT ON THE LORD. The only way we will be able to watch and wait for the return of Jesus is to complete the steps outlined in this Psalm. Matt. 24:42-51 gives the warning of the unfaithful servant, who stopped looking for the Lord, and began to beat his fellow servants and eat and drink with the drunken. Gal. 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
9. MARK THE UPRIGHT MAN. The last step is to mark the upright man. It's interesting that God wants us to look only at Him until we reach this point. Then, and only then, does He desire us to look at others and judge their fruits. It is only when we remove the beam from our eye that we are able to remove the mote from our brothers eye, Matt. 7:5.
A careful reading of Psalm 37 will give the detail behind each of these progressive steps. It is not enough for us to know the names of these steps, but God wants us to understand the principle that makes the progression work.
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Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them.