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Psalm 37-39

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Psalm Chapter 37

Although he lived far back in "Old" Testament times (see The Older Testament), King David well-understood why and how The Messiah is coming. David also recognized why God still allows evil to run wild in the world, why "wolves" lurk around the "sheep," something that relatively few have come to understand (see the Fact Finder question below).


"A Psalm of David.

Fret not yourself because of the wicked, be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass [see Baptism Of Fire], and wither like the green herb.

Trust in The Lord, and do good; so you will dwell 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 bring forth your vindication as the light [see Trust], and your right as the noonday.

Be still before The Lord, and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over him who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the wicked shall be cut off [see They Shall Be Ashes]; but those who wait for The Lord shall possess the land.

Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look well at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall possess the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

The wicked plots against the righteous, and gnashes his teeth at him; but The Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming [see When Will You Be Judged?].

The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows, to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those who walk uprightly; their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. Better is a little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken; but The Lord upholds the righteous.

The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will abide for ever; they are not put to shame in evil times, in the days of famine they have abundance.

But the wicked perish; the enemies of The Lord are like the glory of the pastures, they vanish - like smoke they vanish away.

The wicked borrows, and cannot pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives; for those blessed by The Lord shall possess the land, but those cursed by Him shall be cut off.

The steps of a man are from The Lord, and he establishes him in whose way He delights; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for The Lord is the stay of his hand.

I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging bread. He is ever giving liberally and lending, and his children become a blessing.

Depart from evil, and do good [see The Process Of Conversion]; so shall you abide for ever. For The Lord loves justice; He will not forsake His saints [see Sanctify]. The righteous shall be preserved for ever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.

The righteous shall possess the land, and dwell upon it for ever. The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.

The wicked watches the righteous, and seeks to slay him. The Lord will not abandon him to his power, or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial [see Trials and Tribulations].

Wait for The Lord, and keep to His way, and He will exalt you to possess the land; you will look on the destruction of the wicked. I have seen a wicked man overbearing, and towering like a cedar of Lebanon. Again I passed by, and, lo, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found. Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright, for there is posterity for the man of peace. But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.

The salvation of the righteous is from The Lord; He is their refuge in the time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in Him." (Psalm 37:1-40 RSV)

Psalm Chapter 38

Although David was a strong and vigorous warrior for much of his life, this Psalm speaks plainly of a serious illness from which David suffered for a time. Why? "There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thy indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; they weigh like a burden too heavy for me." Although the terminology is that of an infected battle wound ("My wounds grow foul and fester"), it's moreover a result of a spiritual shortcoming, something that all humans are subject to (i.e. "I groan because of the tumult of my heart").


"A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.

O Lord, rebuke me not in Thy anger, nor chasten me in Thy wrath! For Thy arrows have sunk into me, and Thy hand has come down on me. There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thy indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; they weigh like a burden too heavy for me.

My wounds grow foul and fester because of my foolishness, I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. For my loins are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am utterly spent and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

Lord, all my longing is known to Thee, my sighing is not hidden from thee. My heart [see A Pure Heart] throbs, my strength fails me; and the light of my eyes - it also has gone from me. My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my kinsmen stand afar off. Those who seek my life lay their snares, those who seek my hurt speak of ruin, and meditate treachery all the day long.

But I am like a deaf man, I do not hear, like a dumb [see Mute; also They Aren't Just Dumb Animals] man who does not open his mouth . Yea, I am like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes. But for thee, O Lord, do I wait; it is thou, O Lord my God, who wilt answer. For I pray, "Only let them not rejoice over me, who boast against me when my foot slips!"

For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity, I am sorry for my sin [see What Is Sin?]. Those who are my foes without cause are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully. Those who render me evil for good are my adversaries [see Adversary] because I follow after good. Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!" (Psalm 38:1-22 RSV)

Psalm Chapter 39

This Psalm of David is "to Jeduthun." Jeduthun was one of the three Levites who were appointed by David as leaders of music i.e. "Jeduthun had trumpets and cymbals for the music and instruments for sacred song" (1 Chronicles 16:42 RSV) and "David and the chiefs of the service also set apart for the service certain of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals." (1 Chronicles 25:1 RSV). Specific levels of Levites had specific duties (see also Raiders Of The Lost Ark).

King David leading The Ark

"To the choirmaster: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

I said, "I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will bridle my mouth, so long as the wicked are in my presence." I was dumb and silent, I held my peace to no avail; my distress grew worse, my heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "Lord, let me know my end, and what is the measure [see The Lord's Plumb Line] of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is! Behold, Thou hast made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in Thy sight. Surely every man stands as a mere breath! [see The Spirit Of God] [Selah]

Surely man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nought are they in turmoil; man heaps up, and knows not who will gather! "And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in Thee. Deliver me from all my transgressions [see Trespass]. Make me not the scorn of the fool! I am dumb, I do not open my mouth; for it is thou who hast done it. Remove Thy stroke from me; I am spent by the blows of Thy hand. When thou dost chasten man with rebukes for sin, Thou dost consume like a moth what is dear to him; surely every man is a mere breath! [Selah]

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not Thy peace at my tears! For I am Thy passing guest, a sojourner, like all my fathers. Look away from me, that I may know gladness, before I depart and be no more!" (Psalm 39:1-13 RSV)

Fact Finder: Why does God allow evil in the world, for now?
See Why Does God Allow Evil?

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