Trusting in God provides security and motivation for righteous actions.
Psalm 37:3 – Trust in Yahweh and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
This entire psalm by David is devoted to reassuring those who trust in Yahweh, encouraging them not to be envious or overly concerned with the practices of the wicked. Trusting in Yahweh is illustrated as fostering behavior that results in his favor. By trusting in Yahweh, one is motivated to do good.
Psalm 37:26-27, 30-31 – All day long he [the faithful one] is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing. Depart from evil and do good, So you will abide forever. … The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.
The psalm also says the faithful will dwell in the land; a reference to the security of the position of the one who trusts in him. By contrast, the wicked are spoken of as disappearing, being cut off, and vanishing like smoke. This is illustrated repeatedly throughout the psalm.
- Psalm 37:9-11 – For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for Yahweh, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
- Psalm 37:20, 22, 35-36, 38 – But the wicked will perish; And the enemies of Yahweh will be like the glory of the pastures, They vanish–like smoke they vanish away. … For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, But those cursed by Him will be cut off. … I have seen a wicked, violent man Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more; I sought for him, but he could not be found. … But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.
In a similar fashion, Yeshua encourages faith in Yahweh and obedience to his commands by illustrating the two houses that are built on differing foundations.
- Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
- Matthew 7:24-27 – “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.”
Even though these passages were conveyed to their hearers a thousand years apart, we can see a consistent theme: by placing our faith in Yahweh, we can have an established security that can weather any storm, while those who instead choose their own ways will suffer the consequences of their own wickedness.
Returning to Psalm 37, it speaks of how the righteous actions of those who trust in Yahweh will become self-evident, as bright as the noonday sun.
Psalm 37:4-6 Delight yourself in Yahweh; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Yahweh, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday.
Trusting in Yahweh is just that: trust. But it is a trust that is demonstrated through righteous actions; the two cannot be separated. Additionally, the evidence provided over a millennium of tried-and-true experience in the fortunes of Israel should bolster our confidence to trust him, and not to trust in our own ways which only lead to wickedness. We can be established and secure in the land, or we can be cut off and vanish away like smoke. As followers of the Messiah, we should be strengthened to abide in his words that have been demonstrated as true since the times of David and will continue to do so throughout eternity.
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