Psalm 37

The Heritage of the Righteous and the Calamity of the Wicked

A Psalm of David.

1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

7 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.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.

9 For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the LORD,
They shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

12 The wicked plots against the just,
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
13 The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees that his day is coming.
14 The wicked have drawn the sword
And have bent their bow,
To cast down the poor and needy,
To slay those who are of upright conduct.
15 Their sword shall enter their own heart,
And their bows shall be broken.

16 A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
But the LORD upholds the righteous.

18 The LORD knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever.
19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,
And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
20 But the wicked shall perish;
And the enemies of the LORD,
Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish.
Into smoke they shall vanish away.

21 The wicked borrows and does not repay,
But the righteous shows mercy and gives.
22 For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth,
But those cursed by Him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the LORD upholds him with His hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.
26 He is ever merciful, and lends;
And his descendants are blessed.

27 Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forevermore.
28 For the LORD loves justice,
And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.

30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,
And his tongue talks of justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide.

32 The wicked watches the righteous,
And seeks to slay him.
33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand,
Nor condemn him when he is judged.

34 Wait on the LORD,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
35 I have seen the wicked in great power,
And spreading himself like a native green tree.
36 Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.

37 Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;
For the future of that man is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together;
The future of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
He is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the LORD shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,
Because they trust in Him.

The New King James Version. (1982). (Ps 37). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.


Faith and Reason, Beauty and Holiness

From The Public Discourse:

 

We live in a society of rampant individualism and relativism, where man is the measure of all things. We hear people speak of human rights, for example, but rarely of human goods, or human nature, or nature’s Author. We hear people appeal to natural rights, but rarely to natural law, or the Natural Law-Giver.

 

Now, why does any of this intellectual work matter? Why did you devote the last four or so years of your lives to higher education? Universities were a creation of the Church. Christians believed that all knowledge came from God, and so using both faith and reason we could seek out unified knowledge of the truth. In the Middle Ages, Christians established some of today’s most storied institutions—Oxford and Cambridge, the Universities of Paris, and Salamanca, and Bologna—all to fulfill Christ’s command that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. Precisely because God is Logos, because God is Reason itself, it is good for man to develop his mind. As a being made in the image and likeness of God, man has reason to seek out the truths about God, about man, and about nature—truths that are embedded in creation, a creation that should be understood as the outgrowth of God’s designs. And in the universities established by the Church we see the flowering of theology and philosophy, science and medicine, human rights and legal theory, economics and ethics, literature and music and art. All of these disciplines were developed and deployed at the service of the truth, the truth about God and man and nature.

 

Robby George was my next teacher. Here’s what I learned: Bad philosophy needs to be answered by good philosophy. Bad science needs to be responded to with good science—this is true with the science of embryology and the social science of marriage and the psychology of gender identity. We cannot allow the other side to depict these debates as ones that pit faith against reason, that force a choice between backward superstition against enlightened science. As C.S. Lewis taught, “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” This takes work. Since our adversaries control the principal institutions of our culture, we have to work twice as hard as they do.

 

Today’s debates simply extend a faulty anthropology to a new domain: Whether it be debates about abortion or assisted suicide, same-sex marriage or gender identity, they all challenge three truths right on the first page of the Bible: That we are made in the image and likeness of God, that we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other.

 

Be generous in responding to God’s call in your life. Join a religious community. Get married. Stay married. Be a faithful spouse, knowing that adultery and divorce are always dangers that must be guarded against. Be generous in welcoming children, and be a devoted mother or father. Bear one another’s burdens, persevere through adversity, and let the family you create—the children you raise and the parents you care for—be your best long-term defense of life and marriage. Let the love you create and sustain—the holiness and beauty of your life—be what attracts others to Christ.


When giants appear

"We came unto the land whither thou sentest us … we saw the children of Anak there."  (Num. 13:27, 28)

It is when we are in the way of duty that we find giants. It was when Israel was going forward that the giants appeared. When they turned back into the wilderness they found none.

Source: Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.


Christ is All!

All emphasis mine.

We can do nothing, but only continually keep committing everything to Him and leaving it in His hands. And so our lives will come to be lost in His, and we will realize that the “pure life of God” is over all, and that He will work in us whatever is well pleasing in His sight. Our only part in this great work is to stop working. Abiding, resting, believing,—these are our part; Christ does all the rest.

Whether in temptation or in service, it is the same. If we cease from our own plans and our own activities and leave the whole care and ordering of our work to Him, He will plan for us, will work through us, and will use us as His instruments to accomplish His own purposes of love and mercy. The responsibility will be all His, the simple obedience only ours. And who can understand the peace of heart that we find in this, except those who have experienced it? Everywhere and in everything, we are nothing and Christ is all!

Oh that this truth might be brought home to the heart of every child of God. The promise is certain that “they which hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled.” But the fulfillment is all in Jesus. He in the believer instead of all the so called created habits of grace which we ourselves may develop. So that we shall not be filled with any goodness of our own, nor with any righteousness to which we can lay claim as an independent possession, but we shall be filled simply with Jesus and His righteousness. For He Himself says: “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Our hunger and our thirst are all satisfied forever in Him!

—Journal, 1867

Source: Smith, H. W., & Dieter, M. E. (1997). The Christian’s secret of a holy life: the unpublished personal writings of Hannah Whitall Smith. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.


Good Money

From The Public Discourse:

The most recent instance of using monetary policy to avoid making politically hard decisions is called “quantitative easing.” In simple terms, this involves keeping distressed economies ticking by increasing the money supply via the central bank’s buying of bonds and other financial assets from private banks and other financial institutions. The goal is to encourage private lending, which in turn increases the money supply, thereby stimulating the economy—but also avoiding or putting off the painful process of allowing fiscally unsustainable businesses to be liquidated.

Like all addictive stimulants, quantitative easing provides short-term stimulation at the price of some undesirable long-term effects. In market economies, for example, people need to be able to distinguish between viable and nonviable companies so that they can invest in the former and avoid the losses associated with the latter’s probable failure. Quantitative easing, however, helps to keep unsustainable businesses afloat. This distorts the information that people need to make prudent investment choices. That helps to undermine opportunity cost in the economy and facilitates serious misallocations of financial capital. And this means less economic growth over the long term.