Psalm 37: Do not fret

Isaiah 54 17

We’ll spend this week in Psalm 37. The first six verses of this Psalm direct our response to evildoers and the havoc they cause in our lives: Do not fret.

The word choice “fret” is important. Isaiah 41:10 tells us not to fear: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Philippians 4:6 tells us not worry “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” And now Psalm 37:1 tells us not to fret. There is an important distinction.

To fret is more than to worry or be anxious or fear. Fret is defined as being constantly and visibly worried and anxious as the source of that worry and anxiety gnaws away at you. When the havoc caused by the evildoers is given enough power to gnaw away at us, we are not open to receive God’s blessings, show love to others, or accomplish our purposes. Instead we are focused on that all consuming event, sacrificing our health and emotional well being, and trading His peace for anxiety and worry.

David writes about what we are to do instead of fretting in verses 3-5.                                 Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

As you navigate the havoc created by the evildoers refuse to fret and instead trust in the Lord. David writes that we are to “dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture“. The same pastures referred to in the 23rd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.

Do not fret, instead trust in the Lord and rest in His pastures.

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