Psalm 37 is one of the wisdom psalms, so-called because these psalms stress the importance of wisdom as a result of knowing God or of providing instruction on knowing God.
Psalm 37 provides instruction in godliness and contrasts the life of the godly with the life of the wicked. The Psalm opens with five admonitions for achieving godliness in your life. Embedded in each of these admonitions are promises for what happens when you live a godly life:
- Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper”(vs. 3, NLT). When you cultivate a life of devotion and confidence in God, then God will watch over you and provide for your spiritual and material needs.
- “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (vs. 4, NLT). When you find happiness and fulfillment in accomplishing God’s will, then God will help you do that very thing.
- “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun” (vs. 5-6, NLT). When your complete focus is on God, then He will form you into an example of godliness to others and they will want what you have.
- “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes” (vs. 7, NLT). Rather than taking matters into your own hands, let God be in control of your life and you won’t have to plot and scheme like the ungodly in order to prosper.
- “Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm” (vs. 8, NLT). Anger and outbursts of temper can damage your character and prevent you from developing godliness in your life.
When you apply these five keys to godliness to every aspect of your life, then God can begin to take control of your life and help you accomplish His plans and purposes: “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand” (vs. 23-24, NLT).
And when God guides and directs your life, then you are enabled to demonstrate to others that godliness is a matter of making God’s law the law by which you live your life: “The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong. They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from his path” (vs. 30-31, NLT).
Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. (1 Timothy 6:6-7, NLT)