Last Friday, our softball team suffered its first defeat. I sincerely tried to put on a good face, but it’s been made clear to me (by two people, both independently!) that my frustration after the game was quite apparent.
I was upset.
I hate losing. That probably makes me like every other person in the world, except that I really hate losing.
Afterwards, I drove to one of my favorite spots in Bellingham and devoted a few moments to meditating on God and his word. I desperately needed his voice in my mind, as my thoughts only seemed to worsen my mood.
Psalm 37 was the place I unintentionally turned to. As I read it (and watched a thoroughly glorious sunset), I felt overwhelmed by a sense of God’s sovereignty in the life of David as well as my own. I write this one week later, and the sense of awe I felt upon reading that passage is nearly as intense as it was then.
For those of you who have read along with the last four studies about David and Joab (1, 2, 3, 4), you’ll remember that the most prominent difference between the two men was that Joab would break the rules to defend the nation, whereas David only fought battles which were completely black and white. Joab took matters into his own hands even when it meant murder; David left matters to God, even when it made him look passive.
Oh, how we must all learn to leave our battles to the Lord!
That compelling lesson I had learned from David’s life, through reading those historical books which documented his life, was immediately brought to life in full color as I contemplated Psalm 37.
I suspect (if the reader is anything like me) that when I quote scripture on here, the tendency may be to skim it and move on to “what I’m really getting at”. If that is the case, I encourage you that the passage itself is what I’m getting at. This is David’s own expression of the passion that sustained him from his battle with Goliath, through his flight from Absalom, until his final breath in which he entrusted his kingdom to his son Solomon. This is a glimpse into the heart of a man after God’s heart.
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 only leads to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off
but those who wait for the Lord
shall inherit the land.
Psalm 37:1-9 (NRSV)