Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the 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.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
    Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
    though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
    and delight themselves in abundant peace.

12 The wicked plots against the righteous
    and gnashes his teeth at him,
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
    for he sees that his day is coming.

Pszlm 37:1-13

In the midst of the chaos and upheaval of the past couple of years in the United States, many are losing perspective. It appears evil is winning. We have experienced anarchy in many American cities. Many elected officials are refusing to enforce the law. Woke leadership is doing the unthinkable by defunding the police departments in many cities so the people cannot be protected from the lawless hordes that run rampant in those cities. Somehow this is supposed to be good. Crime rates have risen. Murders have risen.

Disease has also had its way not only in America but around the world. The origin of COVID-19 is still disputed. Some say it is a naturally occurring phenomenon, while others claim it is a purposeful bioweapon released by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The truth has thus far eluded us. The vaccines that have been developed are not protecting us as promised, and therapeutics that are apparently effective are kept from the population. In some cases, doctors will lose their jobs if they prescribe these therapies. Meanwhile, people continue to die from this virus.

The United States government, via the Biden Administration, has left Americans and Afghanis behind for now. These folks are at the mercy of the Taliban, the terrorist Islamists. This is a deep injustice to America’s citizens and allies. This action would have been unheard of just a few years ago.

Truth is lost. Sources of news and information cannot be trusted. It appears that evil is winning. So what is a Jesus follower to do? What is the perspective a Jesus follower is to have?

By and large, the world around us operates as if reality is only material. That is not the perspective Jesus teaches us. There is a future in which righteousness and truth prevail. In the vernacular, we win! More accurately, Jesus wins.

We would love to see the kingdom of God in its fullness here and now. We would love to see the beauty of God’s rule manifest today in the twenty-first-century world. Many preachers have appealed to that desire and perverted the gospel by overemphasizing the present reality of the kingdom of God. It is generally referred to as the health and wealth gospel. Clearly, Jesus does heal the sick, and those who walk in obedience to Jesus in all things do prosper over those who live foolishly. But this does not guarantee that we will live free from all disease or physical maladies. Nor does it mean we can claim any material blessing we would like and have it delivered by God himself in some miraculous fashion.

But, there is a future that we will love and should keep in mind.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

Psalm 37:3

Scripture often has a great deal of nuance. Many passages have multiple applications. Psalm 37:3 instructs us to “dwell in the land.” To what does that phrase refer? Abraham was given a land promise. That promise has multiple fulfillment. The initial fulfillment was the land of Canaan given to his descendants following their deliverance from Egypt. In this passage, the immediate reference for David would have been the land of Israel and Judah.

A second reference for the land is the kingdom of God, as it is now available to the followers of Jesus. His kingdom is here and now, but not in its fullness. Jesus told us to seek his kingdom first, and the other things we want and need will be added when the kingdom comes first.

The ultimate reference to that land is the New Earth that will come into being following the return of Jesus to earth when he cleans this place up for good and renews the heavens and earth. “What a day that will be, when my Jesus I will see.”

Back to Psalm 37:3. Trust in the Lord, and do good. We are to live by faith, i.e., trust in the Lord. Don’t let the circumstances you see with your eyes or hear with your ears interfere with your trust in Jesus. And, as you walk by faith, do good. Jesus’ followers are to be doers of good, perform acts of morally high quality. Love your neighbor as yourself. Let the goodness of God be manifest in our lives despite all the evil around us. How else will people far from God see Jesus if not through we his followers?

Justice will be done. Surely we see much injustice, and our courts are not infallible. In fact, it does seem that in recent years our courts have become politicized. Hence, they are no longer arbiters of truth and justice but advocates of a particular political agenda. Where do we place our trust that justice will be done?

We have to look higher and further.

For the evildoers shall be cut off…in just a little while, the wicked will be no more…the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming..their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken…For the arms of the wicked shall be broken…But the wicked will perish…those cursed by him shall be cut off…you will look on when the wicked are cut off…transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give your the desires of your heart…Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will act…Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land…the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace…The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever…those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land…For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever…there is a future for the man of peace…

There is justice. It will take longer than we would like to be fully manifest. It will ultimately come about in the New Heaven and New Earth. I know many will think of this as a pollyannaish pie in the sky assessment. On the contrary, I think it is a true assessment of reality. Reality is not limited to my lifetime or yours. Reality is eternal. Our lives will not end with death. Remember, Jesus said that anyone who follows him shall never die?

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 

John 11:25-26

The kingdom of God has both an already and a not yet quality to it. We are blessed with much of the kingdom of God now, and we will enter into the fullness of the kingdom of God later. Its fullness is not yet. But it will come as sure as we believe the sun will rise with morning, the kingdom will come with the return with its King Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

So, what does all of this say to those distraught by the seeming victory of evil today?

Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
    and wither like the green herb.

Psalm 37:1-2

I love the alternate translation of verse 3.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and feed on faithfulness.

Psalm 37:3 alternate translation

Think on that one for a little bit. Feed on faithfulness. Not our own faithfulness, to be sure, but the faithfulness of our God. He has promised the fullness of his kingdom to those who follow him in faith and obedience. He has promised justice to the wicked and the righteous alike. Feed on his faithfulness. he will do it. Do not feed on the bad news of the present evil age; feed on the faithfulness of our God in his word. This will keep us from despair and fear. Feeding on God’s faithfulness does not ignore what is around us, but it views the present in light of future justice. Perspective makes all the difference.

Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4