Psalm 37 presents a contrast between the one that follows the Lord and the wrongdoer, wicked, and evildoer.
The psalmist says to the one following the Lord that he should not fret because of the evildoer. Rather, the one who follows the Lord should:
- Trust the Lord
- Do good
- Delight himself in the Lord
- Commit his way to the Lord
- Be still before the Lord
- Wait patiently for the Lord
- Refrain from anger
- Forsake wrath
- Be generous and give
- Turn away from evil
- Do justice
- Utter wisdom and speak justice
Those that do this are considered righteous and meek. It is these individuals that will inherit the land and have abundant peace. In other words, these are the individuals that will have eternal life, abundant life.
This is in contrast to the evildoer. The evildoer:
- Carries out evil devices
- Plots against the righteous
- Gnashes his teeth at the righteous
- Draws the sword
- Bends the bow
- Slays the righteous
- Borrows and doesn’t pay back
- Seeks to put the righteous to death
Over and over the psalmist says that the evildoer shall be cut off and that the evildoer has no future.
This is a picture of the righteous as the ones who love their enemies and return evil with good in contrast to the wicked who hate their enemies and return good with evil.
The evildoers are called transgressors. They are rebels. Indeed, they have gone the way of Satan, who is the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning. So, we see the evildoers in this psalm speaking lies about the righteous and seeking to do violence against them.
But, how does the Lord deal with these evildoers? Verse 15 says, “their sword shall enter their own heart.” The Lord allows the violence of the evildoer to return upon himself. The evildoer destroys himself with his own weapon and plans for evil.
The self-destruction of the evildoer, even Satan, is a recurring theme throughout scripture.
- “So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai.” – Esther 7:10
- “Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his [Goliath’s] sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it.” – 1 Samuel 17:51
- “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.” – Proverbs 26:27
- “The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made.” – Psalm 9:15
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57) What gave Jesus the victory? His death. He defeated death with death.
Evil, wickedness, violence always returns upon the head of the one who does it. So, Jesus calls us to a way of peace, a way of dying, picking up our cross and dying to self. It is these that inherit eternal life.