View print-optimized version

Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 37:1–11, 39–40

Do not fret because of the wicked;
   do not be envious of wrongdoers,
for they will soon fade like the grass,
   and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
   so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
   and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
   trust in him, and he will act.
He will make your vindication shine like the light,
   and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

Be 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.
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
   Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off,
   but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more;
   though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.
But the meek shall inherit the land,
   and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
   he is their refuge in the time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and rescues them;
   he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them,
   because they take refuge in him. (NRSV)

Reflection
Remember the Steven Covey quote “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”? This aptly reflects the core message of the wisdom in this psalm written by the elderly King David. His directives are psychologically and spiritually sound and provide direction for people of faith on how to live value-driven lives during tense and anxious times.

What is the main thing according to this psalm? We are encouraged to trust God and stay calm and be free of worry. Trust is conveyed in directives such as delighting in, dwelling in, resting in, and committing to our relationship with the Divine. Staying calm and not fretting is another main directive.

As a strategy for staying calm David repeatedly tells us not to focus on the wrongdoing of others. When we blame others, we become polarized and there is a shadowy tendency to view those with whom we disagree as bad.

What will last is our righteousness, which means right living in relationship with God. If we focus on the values of truthfulness, justice, and trusting God, the psalmist reassures us that God will use it to bring more light into our lives and the lives of others. The desires of our hearts will become a reality.

In the movie The Year of Living Dangerously, the main thing is characterized as “adding your light to the sum of light around you.” In summary, the main thing is having faith and our relationship with the Divine as the basis of our values, which in turn drives choices and actions. That is what will add light and have lasting impact.

Prayer
O God, help me strengthen and deepen my relationship with you so I can stay calm, focused, and trusting, reflecting your love and light outward. Amen.

Written by Thomas Schemper, Director, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being


Devotion index by date | Id like to receive daily devotions by email