We continue this intentionally slow journey through Psalm 37. I use the word “intentionally” intentionally (see what I did there?) Why intentionally slow?
Maybe it is just my own personal preference. Most of the time I’m more of a plodder. I tell people “if you ever see me running, you should run too ‘cause something really bad must be about to happen and I’m trying to get away.” When I walk with my wife I’m forever telling her to “slow down!” She has one speed and it’s always full throttle. Someone sent me an article one time that said science has proven that people who walk faster usually live longer than people who walk slower. If that’s the case my wife will be around for a long time.
Walking fast may be better for your physical health, but when it comes to your spiritual health and reading the Bible, I find it pays to slow down. Lectio Divina* forces you to slow down. Think of it as a fancy, 5 course meal. Don’t rush through it. Take your time to slowly savor and enjoy each bite.
- Read Psalm 37:30-34 slowly at least 3 times…
30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
their feet do not slip.
32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
intent on putting them to death;
33 but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked
or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
34 Hope in the Lord
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.
- Meditate- choose a word or phrase that really speaks to you and spend some time ruminating on what it says and what it means.
As an example: As I was meditating on this portion of the Psalm, I saw it on one level as a prophetic picture of Jesus. Instead of “the righteous” I insert “Jesus”.
The mouth of Jesus utters wisdom.
Jesus speaks with his tongue what is just.
The law of God is in Jesus’ heart.
Jesus’ feet do not slip.
The wicked lie in wait for Jesus (think of the scribes and Pharisees, and Judas).
The wicked are intent on putting Jesus to death.
But the LORD (YWHW) will not leave Jesus in the power of the wicked (Jesus was only temporarily in the grave under the control of the wicked. God rolled away the stone and set him free to everlasting life.)
Or let Jesus be condemned when brought to trial (Remember, Pontius Pilate said “I find no guilt in this man.” Jesus had done nothing worthy of condemnation. His death was due to the sinful hearts of others, not his own guilt.)
Jesus hoped in the LORD and kept God’s way (without sin).
He will exalt Jesus (At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Jesus as Lord)
To inherit the land (Jesus will rule as King over all the earth).
When the wicked are destroyed Jesus will see it (In the end, Jesus rules as King, the wicked come to their final judgment).
As I continue to meditate on how Jesus fulfills every bit of this Psalm, I’m led to think about what Jesus calls me to be and to do. Jesus says “follow me.” Jesus says “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” Jesus said to Peter “get behind me.” I want to follow the path that Jesus laid out. To be a follower or disciple (student) of Jesus means to hear his word and do what he says. If I do that, then that which was prophetically spoken of Jesus here in Psalm 37 will also be true of me:
“The mouth of Jeff utters wisdom”
“Jeff speaks with his tongue what is just”
“The Law of God is in Jeff’s heart.”
“Jeff’s feet do not slip.”
“The wicked lie in wait for Jeff and are intent on putting Jeff to death”
“The LORD will not leave Jeff in the power of the wicked or let Jeff be condemned when brought to trial”
“Jeff hopes in the Lord and keeps his way”
“God will exalt Jeff to inherit the land.”
“When the wicked are destroyed Jeff will see it.”
Now, it’s your turn. Insert your name or personalize it…
The mouth of ________________ utters wisdom (or my mouth utters wisdom)
“_____________speaks with his tongue what is just”
“The Law of God is in _______________’s heart.”
“__________________’s feet do not slip.”
“The wicked lie in wait for _________________ and are intent on putting _________ to death”
“The LORD will not leave _________________ in the power of the wicked or let __________ be condemned when brought to trial”
“__________ hopes in the Lord and keeps his way”
“God will exalt ____________ to inherit the land.”
“When the wicked are destroyed _________ will see it.”
See how reading slowly and savoring it opens up all kinds of new flavors?
What emerges for you as you meditate on this part of Psalm 37?
- Pray- As you go through this reading, what does it stir up within you? Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Does it make you want to raise your hands and worship God? Does it make you want to fall on your knees and confess your sin? Does it drive you to go to Jesus and seek his mercy? Does it make you want to follow Jesus more closely in your daily walk? Bring those things to God in prayer.
- Rest in God. After you have brought these things to God in pray, simply enter into his rest. Be present to God as God is present to you.
Now go follow in Jesus’ footsteps today.
-Pastor Jeff Fletcher
*If you are unfamiliar with the Lectio Divina method of prayer/scripture study please refer to the Sunday, August 11th devotion.