“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
In these eleven verses we have set before us something to do and something not to do, noting first what we’re told not to do. Verse 1 reads, “Fret not thyself.” You will find this repeated in the seventh and eighth verses. Apparently, it is one of the great themes in this scripture. Don’t get anxious; don’t get worried; don’t murmur and complain; don’t be bothered about anything. Somebody says, Well, that’s very well for David to write down there, but David didn’t live in our time. That is true, but the Holy Spirit does and He’s the One who inspired this.
Take a look at the other side of the coin and see what we are to do if we are not to fret. We are to trust. Consider the wonderful message of this same Psalm as it relates to trust. Note that trust is not a substitute for work. You’ll find that in the 3rd verse. “Trust in the Lord, and do good.” Trust in the Lord, and do something. Faith is not a substitute for action, rather it inspires action. As someone has said, Faith is so good it works.
Another sidelight occurs in the latter part of the third verse, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land.” Dwell means to live, to stay, to inhabit; in other words, the way to meet problems is not to run away because they fret us. Settle down and meet the problem by trusting God and by doing good. And what is the result? “Verily thou shalt be fed,” satisfied, physically and spiritually. Another translation says, “And enjoy security.” Philippians 4:19 echoes that wonderful promise: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Now notice Psalm 37:4: “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” That is also translated, “He shall give thee the petitions of thy heart.” In other words, He will give you what you ask for. Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7). Trust, then, is not a substitute for prayer, just as it is not a substitute for work. Rather it inspires prayer as it inspires work. The more we trust God the more our petitions will be sent to Him.
Paul says in Philippians 4:6, “Be careful [anxious] for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” What a wonderful combination of trust and prayer. What a difference it makes to God and to us if our prayers are banging on the door as if God had to be waked up and we were trying to change His mind and get Him interested, or whether we come as children to a loving father or mother, saying, I know you’re interested and here is the thing that’s on my heart. Trust and prayer belong together. Notice the wonderful promise, “And He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” What an order!
There’s not a craving in the mind
Thou dost not meet and still;
There’s not a wish the heart can have,
Which Thou dost not fulfill.
Frederick William Faber, 1860.
What a God! He is there at the center of the universe, marshalling all the forces of omnipotence to give you what you want, to grant your heart’s desires, not only to fill your needs, your basic requirements, but even to gratify your wishes. What a friend! Oh, to trust Him, to come with confidence knowing that He’s waiting to hear our requests. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32)? He loves to give.
“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5). Notice the marginal reading: “Roll thy way upon the Lord.” The picture is of a burden too heavy for us. Jesus says to let go of it and let it roll on Him. Peter picks up the thought and echoes it in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” That word translated casting has the thought of flinging, throwing the burden down at Jesus’ feet, an active choice of the mind, choosing to let go of the worry, the fretting care and giving it to Jesus. “Cast thy burden on the Lord. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” The trust goes with the committal. As we turn over the burden to Him, we are to believe He accepts it and accepts us, and makes Himself responsible for our success. “Trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” As another translation puts it, “Leave all to Him, rely on Him and He will see to it.” Will He do it? Oh, He says He will. He will act without any question.
Now that beautiful seventh verse: “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” A part of trusting is resting and waiting. Trust does not do away with the need for waiting. Some people suppose that if a man had faith, enough faith, strong enough faith, that he could get things done in an instant. They’re looking for somebody like that. The devil will have some miracle workers around before long to show us spectacular miraculous things, but they’ll be from hell, not from heaven. The people of God in this last generation are distinguished by patience. Revelation 14:12 says, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” And patience is developed by waiting.
So, trust is not a substitute for waiting. Trust is not something that makes waiting unnecessary. Trust inspires waiting. It keeps us hopeful during the waiting period, whether it be long or short. In James there is a parallel statement. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth” (James 5:7, first part). Whether it’s apples or pears, grapes or strawberries, the farmer must wait for the harvest. There is no way to put in the plant today and reap the crop tomorrow. “The husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (verses 7, last part, 8).
Notice that expression again, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7). The margin says on rest, “Be silent to the Lord.” In an earlier verse we learned that we are to pour out our heart’s requests in supplication; we are to make known our desires in petitions but along with it we are to learn to be silent. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). In the quietness God will speak. Be silent to the Lord and wait patiently for Him. When we are waiting, wondering, it is sometimes a hard time to be still, but trust is exhibited in quietly, patiently, calmly waiting. When we have prayed, when we have worked, there’s a time to wait – quietly, trustfully, before God.
Think of Joseph in Egypt, ten years in Potiphar’s house as a slave, then unjustly accused and thrown into prison. Then his hopes are raised as, having interpreted the dreams of the butler and the baker, he is promised that he will be remembered in the throne room. Nevertheless, the chief butler forgot him. Can you imagine how Joseph felt, forgotten? But it was all in God’s providence. We usually think that God is always working to help people to remember things, but He also lets some people forget things. And it might be that God could allow somebody to forget something that you want them very much to remember. But after two years, one day that man woke up. The hour had struck. God’s time had come, and Joseph left the dungeon forever to be the prime minister of Egypt. Joseph had learned the lesson of crying to God for help, doing anything and everything he could to work out the plan, and then waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. Thank God for these precious lessons. Resign yourself unto the Lord and wait.
Trust, true trust, goes deeper, higher, further than anything we’ve yet looked at. Trust enables us, when we have prayed, when we have worked, when we have waited, to accept a result which is contrary to the thing we thought we wanted. Trust enables us to join with Paul in saying we know that “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). And we love God enough to trust Him and we trust Him knowing that He loves us.
Take this beautiful passage in Steps to Christ, page 122: “Jesus is our friend; all heaven is interested in our welfare. We should not allow the perplexities and worries of everyday life to fret the mind and cloud the brow. If we do, we shall always have something to vex and annoy. We should not indulge a solicitude that only frets and wears us, but does not help us to bear trials.
“You may be perplexed in business; your prospects may grow darker and darker, and you may be threatened with loss; but do not become discouraged; cast your care upon God, and remain calm and cheerful. Pray for wisdom to manage your affairs with discretion, and thus prevent loss and disaster. Do all you can on your part to bring about favorable results. Jesus has promised His aid, but not apart from our effort. When relying upon our Helper, you have done all you can, accept the result cheerfully.”
That’s true with a crop, it’s true with a business, it’s true in our medical work as we try to help sick people. It’s true with every human circumstance. We are to pray, asking for what we believe is God’s will. We are to work seeking to accomplish what we believe is God’s will. We are to wait whether the time be long or short till the answer comes and if that answer comes as we’ve expected, how joyously we pour out our song of thanksgiving, but if a final answer that comes is no, trust still carries on, trust still says, Lord, I thank Thee.
This was the lesson that Jesus was seeking to teach Martha and Mary as recorded in John 11. You remember that Lazarus fell sick and, knowing of Christ’s love for their brother, they simply sent Him the message, “The one You love is sick” (John 11:3, last part). They thought Jesus would drop everything and come, but He just stayed where He was. Pretty soon Lazarus died and they thought, What does all this mean? They couldn’t figure it out. Had Jesus forsaken them? No. Had He forgotten them? No. He had sent them the message in answer to their message, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God” (verse 4). And how wonderfully it finally worked out.
Friends, we must never, and I stress this, we must never make our faith in God dependent upon the way He answers our prayers. He knows better than we do. He loves us better than we love ourselves. To trust Him does not mean that we get what we want; it means that we learn to submit to His way so that He gets what He wants. Somebody says, but Brother Frazee, you just read that if we delight ourselves in the Lord that He will give us the desires of our heart. Precisely. And Martha and Mary got more than they desired when their brother came back from the grave. It was a far more abundant answer than if Christ had come and simply broken the fever and raised up the sick man. God has a thousand ways of answering our prayers of which we know nothing. Sometimes the explanation of the answer awaits the eternal world. Jesus said to Peter, “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7).
In The Ministry of Healing, 474, we are told: “In the future life the mysteries that here have annoyed and disappointed us will be made plain. We shall see that our seemingly unanswered prayers and disappointed hopes have been among our greatest blessings.” We love to read about marvelous, spectacular answers to prayer and they are wonderful. The lines in the top right corner express a great truth.
We have never learned really to trust until we’ve mastered the principles set out in Psalm 37. Far on past the answers that are spectacular, far on past those experiences, comes the chapter on trusting God when there seems to be no answer or when the answer is no. This instead of coming from less faith is possible only when there’s more faith.
The apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh. His eyesight had been left greatly diminished after that meeting with Christ on the road to Damascus and how that scholarly man longed for good eyesight that he might continue his earnest study of the Old Testament scrolls and that he might write out the messages to the churches, but for reasons that God did not see fit fully to explain, Paul was left with poor eyesight. He carried that thorn in the flesh all his life, and he says, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me” (2 Corinthians 12:8). God finally said no to Paul and answered him: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly” then he says, “will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, … in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (verses 9, 10).
Oh friends, prayer and trust and waiting and even work, all joined together, are not some sort of slot machine where you put in a quarter and wait and here comes the candy bar or the toy. There is more to it than that. We’re not dealing with a computer; we’re dealing with a Creator who is our friend. And He knows better than we do what we need. If He knows and He loves us, why worry our heads about it? Why not just wait until He gives it to us? Trusting Him means that we have faith in what He says and we choose to cooperate with Him and He has said that it is a part of His plan to grant us an answer to the prayer of faith that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask.
To trust Jesus means that we pray because He has asked us to pray. We work because He has invited us to be partners with Him. We wait because that is His assignment. And through it all, in it all, and after all, we trust, we believe that He is in charge, that He is seated on the throne and that He is marshalling all the powers of the universe to carry out in our lives that which is best for us. Trust Him then. Trust Him when dark days assail. Trust Him when there seems to be no answer. Trust Him patiently, calmly waiting.
Sometimes when hearts are weak
He gives the very gifts believers seek;
But often faith must learn a deeper rest,
And trust God’s silence when He does not speak;
For He whose name is love
Will send the best to those who seek.
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.
The Weaver, Source Unknown
Elder W.D. Frazee studied the Medical Missionary Course at the College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda, California. He was called to Utah as a gospel medical evangelist. During the Great Depression, when the church could not afford to hire any assistants, Elder Frazee began inviting professionals to join him as volunteers. Thus began a faith ministry that would become the foundation for the establishment of the Wildwood Medical Missionary Institute in 1942. He believed that each person is unique, specially designed by the Lord, of infinite value, and has a special place and mission in this world which only he can fill. His life followed this principle and he encouraged others to do the same.