Chapter 37

This psalm is a sermon, and an excellent useful sermon it is, calculated not (as most of the psalms) for our devotion, but for our conversation; there is nothing in it of prayer or praise, but it is all instruction; it is “Maschil—a teaching psalm;” it is an exposition of some of the hardest chapters in the book of Providence, the advancement of the wicked and the disgrace of the righteous, a solution of the difficulties that arise thereupon, and an exhortation to conduct ourselves as becomes us under such dark dispensations. The work of the prophets (and David was one) was to explain the law. Now the law of Moses had promised temporal blessings to the obedient, and denounced temporal miseries against the disobedient, which principally referred to the body of the people, the nation as a nation; for, when they came to be applied to particular persons, many instances occurred of sinners in prosperity and saints in adversity; to reconcile those instances with the word that God had spoken is the scope of the prophet in this psalm, in which, I. He forbids us to fret at the prosperity of the wicked in their wicked ways, Ps. 37:1, 7, 8. II. He gives very good reasons why we should not fret at it. 1. Because of the scandalous character of the wicked (Ps. 37:12, 14, 21, 32) notwithstanding their prosperity, and the honourable character of the righteous, Ps. 37:21, 26, 30, 31. 2. Because of the destruction and ruin which the wicked are nigh to (Ps. 37:2, 9, 10, 20, 35, 36, 38) and the salvation and protection which the righteous are sure of from all the malicious designs of the wicked, Ps. 37:13, 15, 17, 28, 33, 39, 40. 3. Because of the particular mercy God has in store for all good people and the favour he shows them, Ps. 37:11, 16, 18, 19, 22-25, 28, 29, 37. III. He prescribes very good remedies against this sin of envying the prosperity of the wicked, and great encouragement to use those remedies, Ps. 37:3-6, 27, 34. In singing this psalm we must teach and admonish one another rightly to understand the providence of God and to accommodate ourselves to it, at all times carefully to do our duty and then patiently to leave the event with God and to believe that, how black soever things may look for the present, it shall be “well with those that fear God, that fear before him.”