Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40 (NRSV)
Read Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40 on biblegateway.com
Verse 1Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers,
Verse 2for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb.
Verse 3Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Verse 4Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Verse 5Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
Verse 6He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday.
Verse 7Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices.
Verse 8Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret-it leads only to evil.
Verse 9For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
Verse 10Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.
Verse 11But the meek shall inherit the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
Verse 39The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their refuge in the time of trouble.
Verse 40The Lord helps them and rescues them; he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
We may read today's psalm verses at a macro level—cataloguing the thugs who destroy a neighborhood or city, a country, or even our planet, God's handiwork. We may also focus on the micro level—detailing harm to us or our loved ones.
No matter how vast the damage, though, the psalmist counsels that we not seek to chasten the wicked or even wish punishment upon them. We should not plot revenge against evildoers. Rather, we are to trust in the Lord, take delight in the Lord, commit our ways to the Lord.
The psalmist's exhortation is consistent with the whole of Scripture. God's work in Christ is to reconcile all creation to Godself; therefore, we do not follow our base instincts, our malformed sense of justice. When sin and evil seem to have the upper hand, we bask in the light of God's vindication. We take refuge in God's righteousness. We practice God's mercy.
O Lord Jesus, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is injury, may we plant pardon. Amen.