Psalm 37:23 (NKJV): The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.
The word 'ordered' here is 'kuwn' in Hebrew, meaning 'appointed, established, set up, prepared, fashioned, ordained, guided, directed'. Indeed, the steps of a good man are 'appointed, established, set up, prepared, fashioned, ordained, guided, and directed' by the Lord, and He delights in his way!
If there's any psalm that is a 'must-read' as you begin this new year 2017, it's Psalm 37. Take some time to read this whole psalm and let the Lord minister to you. This psalm was written by David in his old age, having gone through much and 'seen it all' in life. In Psalm 37:25, he wrote, 'I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread'.
This psalm addresses the problem of evil (and evildoers) we all face on this earth, and how we (the righteousness of God through Christ) respond to it. This psalm also addresses some questions people often ask:
"Why do wicked people seem to prosper and good people seem to suffer?" , or
"Why do the bad guys escape scot-free and having a gala time, but the good guys seem to be deprived of what they deserve?"
Some might even ask, "Where then is justice? Is there no justice on this earth?"
I was praying in the Spirit the other day when the Lord suddenly spoke these words:
"Tell My people if they have been a victim of 'injustice', this is the year I am going to bring justice to them. Look to Me, for I am the Lord of justice. Like slaves being treated with injustice, this is the year I am going to set many free."
In Psalm 37:28, David wrote, 'For the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints...' So, people of God, if you have been a victim of 'injustice', be it in the workplace, in your family circle, or anywhere else, let the Lord comfort and assure you with His words today. David himself had been a victim of 'injustice', and he certainly knew what he was writing here.
In Psalm 37:1-4, David wrote, 'Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity, for they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good. Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart'.
The direct opposite of 'delighting' is 'blaming'. This is a time to stop blaming yourself or blaming God (for whatever 'injustice' that had happened to you), but instead look to Him and feed on His faithfulness. Psalm 37 was written to assure you that your current situation is only temporary, and that the Lord will know how to reverse it for you. He is our sovereign God and He is a God of justice. So, take heart.
The word 'evildoers' here is from the word 'raw-ah' in Hebrew, which means 'to spoil, to do wickedly, to do mischief, to break into pieces'. It speaks of 'people who try to break you into pieces by their deeds', or 'people who are out to harm you (physically, mentally, or emotionally) out of their own insecurity, jealousy, or hatred against you'.
Let's look now at what David had gone through. After a great victory over Goliath the Philistine, and having won some great battles, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, and they said: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." These made Saul (who was the king then) very angry, and the saying displeased him. So Saul eyed David from that day onwards, and he began finding ways to kill David (1 Samuel 18:6-30). David had to run for his life, and into the wilderness.
In the wilderness, David had the opportunity to kill Saul who sought to 'finish him off', but he spared Saul's life, not once, but twice (1 Samuel 24:1-22, 1 Samuel 26:1-25).
Now who's the 'bad guy' here? Saul!
And who's the 'good guy' here? David!
Yet, 'status quo' remained for a time, and while Saul went back to his comfortable palace, David went back to the rugged wilderness! Speaking of personal 'injustice' on the part of David!
So, how did David respond in such a time of 'injustice'? In Psalm 37:5-6, David wrote, 'Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday'.
Saul eventually ended up tragically (1 Samuel 31:1-10), but David ended up as a king who reigned forty glorious years! (2 Samuel 2:1-7, 2 Samuel 5:1-5)
In Psalm 37:7-9, David wrote further, 'Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret - it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth'.
The word 'wait' here is 'qavah' in Hebrew, and it means 'to bind together (by twisting, like a cord), to join together, to gather (together), to collect, to look patiently, to look with expectation'. This same word 'qavah' is also found in Isaiah 40:31 that says, 'Those who wait ('qavah') on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint'. As you can see here, this 'waiting' is not a passive 'waiting'.
People of God, as you 'join together' with the Lord and as you look patiently to Him in these 'evil days', know that the Lord is with you (just as He was with David), and know that you too will begin to inherit what the Lord has meant for you to inherit here on this earth!
And of course, just as David's steps were being ordered by the Lord as he faced the many adversaries and evildoers in his days, let the Lord also lead, guide, and direct you every step of the way, as you walk into greater (and greater) victories and open doors this year.
Note: From Psalm 37, we can therefore learn to:
1. Submit to the Lord and His perfect timing (Psalm 37:1-11);
2. Trust in the Lord that He is sovereign and in full control (Psalm 37:12-26);
3. Depart from evil and stay righteous in the Lord no matter what (Psalm 37:27-40)
Psalm 37:39-40 wraps up this psalm with these words: 'But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them (set them free); He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save (rescue, aid) them, because they trust in Him'. Amen.