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Psalm 37

Security of Those Who Trust in the Lord, and Insecurity of the Wicked.

A Psalm of David.

37 [a]Do not worry because of evildoers,
Nor be envious toward wrongdoers;

For they will wither quickly like the grass,
And fade like the green herb.

Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness.

Delight yourself in the Lord,
And He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
Trust in Him also and He will do it.

He will make your righteousness [your pursuit of right standing with God] like the light,
And your judgment like [the shining of] the noonday [sun].


Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him;
Do not fret (whine, agonize) because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

Cease from anger and abandon wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evil.

For those who do evil will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
10 
For yet a little while and the wicked one will be gone [forever];
Though you look carefully where he used to be, he will not be [found].
11 
But the humble will [at last] inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity and peace.

12 
The wicked plots against the righteous
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
13 
The Lord laughs at him [the wicked one—the one who oppresses the righteous],
For He sees that his day [of defeat] is coming.
14 
The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow
To cast down the afflicted and the needy,
To slaughter those who are upright in conduct [those with personal integrity and godly character].
15 
The sword [of the ungodly] will enter their own heart,
And their bow will be broken.

16 
Better is the little of the righteous [who seek the will of God]
Than the abundance (riches) of many wicked (godless).
17 
For the arms of the wicked will be broken,
But the Lord upholds and sustains the righteous [who seek Him].
18 
The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
And their inheritance will continue forever.
19 
They will not be [b]ashamed in the time of evil,
And in the days of famine they will have plenty and be satisfied.
20 
But the wicked (ungodly) will perish,
And the enemies of the Lord will be like the [c]glory of the pastures and like the fat of lambs [that is consumed in smoke],
They vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
21 
The wicked borrows and does not pay back,
But the righteous is gracious and kind and gives.
22 
For those blessed by God will [at last] inherit the land,
But those cursed by Him will be cut off.

23 
The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way [and blesses his path].
24 
When he falls, he will not be hurled down,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand and sustains him.
25 
I have been young and now I am old,
Yet I have not seen the righteous (those in right standing with God) abandoned
Or his descendants pleading for bread.
26 
All day long he is gracious and lends,
And his descendants are a blessing.

27 
Depart from evil and do good;
And you will dwell [securely in the land] forever.
28 
For the Lord delights in justice
And does not abandon His saints (faithful ones);
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked will [in time] be cut off.
29 
The righteous will inherit the land
And live in it forever.
30 
The mouth of the righteous proclaims wisdom,
And his tongue speaks justice and truth.
31 
The law of his God is in his heart;
Not one of his steps will slip.
32 
The wicked lies in wait for the righteous
And seeks to kill him.
33 
The Lord will not leave him in his hand
Or let him be condemned when he is judged.
34 
Wait for and expect the Lord and keep His way,
And He will exalt you to inherit the land;
[In the end] when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.

35 
I have seen a wicked, violent man [with great power]
Spreading and flaunting himself like a cedar in its native soil,
36 
Yet he passed away, and lo, he was no more;
I sought him, but he could not be found.
37 
Mark the blameless man [who is spiritually complete], and behold the upright [who walks in moral integrity];
There is a [good] future for the man of peace [because a life of honor blesses one’s descendants].
38 
As for transgressors, they will be completely destroyed;
The future of the wicked will be cut off.
39 
But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
He is their refuge and stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 
The Lord helps them and rescues them;
He rescues them from the wicked and saves them,
Because they take refuge in Him.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 37:1 One of the longer psalms, Ps 37 also has the distinction of having every other verse (sometimes succeeding verses) begin with a letter of the Hebrew in alphabetical order. This technique served as a memory aid.
  2. Psalm 37:19 I.e. have their expectations in Your goodness be disappointed.
  3. Psalm 37:20 I.e. flowers.
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1 Kings 11:1-13

Solomon Turns from God

11 Now king Solomon [defiantly] loved [a]many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the very nations of whom the Lord said to the Israelites, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for the result will be that they will turn away your hearts to follow their gods.” Yet Solomon clung to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred [b]concubines, and his wives turned his heart away [from God]. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not completely devoted to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth, the [fertility] goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the horror (detestable idol) of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil [things] in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as his father David had done. Then Solomon built a [c]high place for [worshiping] Chemosh the horror (detestable idol) of Moab, on the hill which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the horror (detestable idol) of the sons of Ammon. And he did the same for all of his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

So the Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not follow other gods; but he did not observe (remember, obey) what the Lord had commanded. 11 Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12 However, I will not do it in your [d]lifetime, for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son (Rehoboam). 13 However, I will not tear away all the kingdom; I will give one tribe (Judah) to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 11:1 It was a common practice among pagan rulers in the Near East to ratify treaties with other kingdoms by marriage to foreign wives. In Deut 17:17 the kings of Israel were strictly forbidden from participating in such alliances. Solomon’s defiance of God’s command led him into sin and the loss of his kingdom.
  2. 1 Kings 11:3 See note Gen 22:24.
  3. 1 Kings 11:7 I.e. an altar on the top of a hill, which was customary for pagan worship. The only proper place for worship was the temple.
  4. 1 Kings 11:12 Lit days.
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James 3:13-4:12

Wisdom from Above

13 Who among you is wise and intelligent? Let him by his good conduct show his [good] deeds with the gentleness and humility of true wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be arrogant, and [as a result] be in defiance of the truth. 15 This [superficial] wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly (secular), natural (unspiritual), even demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder [unrest, rebellion] and every evil thing and morally degrading practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile]. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness (spiritual maturity) is sown in peace by those who make peace [by actively encouraging goodwill between individuals].

Things to Avoid

What leads to [the unending] [a]quarrels and conflicts among you? Do they not come from your [hedonistic] desires that wage war in your [bodily] members [fighting for control over you]? You are jealous and covet [what others have] and [b]your lust goes unfulfilled; so you [c]murder. You are envious and cannot obtain [the object of your envy]; so you fight and battle. You do not have because you do not ask [it of God]. You ask [God for something] and do not receive it, because you ask [d]with wrong motives [out of selfishness or with an unrighteous agenda], so that [when you get what you want] you may spend it on your [hedonistic] desires. You adulteresses [disloyal sinners—flirting with the world and breaking your vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend [that is, loving the things of the world] is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says to no purpose [e]that the [human] spirit which He has made to dwell in us lusts with envy? But He gives us more and more grace [through the power of the Holy Spirit to defy sin and live an obedient life that reflects both our faith and our gratitude for our salvation]. Therefore, it says, “God is opposed to the proud and haughty, but [continually] gives [the gift of] grace to the humble [who turn away from self-righteousness].” So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people]. Be miserable and grieve and weep [over your sin]. Let your [foolish] laughter be turned to mourning and your [reckless] joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].

11 Believers, do not speak against or slander one another. He who speaks [self-righteously] against a brother or [f]judges his brother [hypocritically], speaks against the Law and judges the Law. If you judge the Law, you are not a doer of the Law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy [the one God who has the absolute power of life and death]; but who are you to [hypocritically or self-righteously] pass judgment on your neighbor?

Footnotes:

  1. James 4:1 Lit wars.
  2. James 4:2 Lit you do not have.
  3. James 4:2 Possibly a reference to Christ’s statement in Matt 5:22, or to actually doing something that results in someone’s death in order to take what he has.
  4. James 4:3 Lit wrongly.
  5. James 4:5 This verse is difficult to translate, and it seems that James is paraphrasing or generalizing a scriptural concept rather than quoting directly from the Old Testament.
  6. James 4:11 This is not a prohibition of all judgment, nor is it a command to stop using godly wisdom, common sense, and moral courage together with God’s written word to discern right from wrong, to distinguish between morality and immorality, and to judge doctrinal truth. There are many judgments that are not only legitimate, but are commanded (cf John 7:24; 1 Cor 5:5, 12; Gal 1:8, 9; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 10); however, you cannot judge another if you are committing the same type of sin.
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Mark 15:12-21

12 Again Pilate answered, “Then what shall I do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” 13 They screamed back, “Crucify Him!” 14 But Pilate asked them, “Why, what has He done that is evil?” But they screamed all the more, “Crucify Him!” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, set Barabbas free for them; and after having Jesus [a]scourged, he handed Him over [to his soldiers] to be crucified.

Jesus Is Mocked

16 The soldiers led Him away into the palace (that is, the [b]Praetorium), and they called together the entire [Roman] battalion [of 600 soldiers]. 17 They dressed Him up in [a ranking Roman officer’s robe of] purple, and after twisting [together] a crown of thorns, they placed it on Him; 18 and they began saluting and mocking Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They kept beating Him on the head with a [c]reed and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing in [mock] homage to Him. 20 After they had mocked Him, they took off the purple robe and put His own clothes on Him. And they led Him out [of the city] to crucify Him.

21 They forced into service a passer-by coming in from the countryside, Simon of [d]Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), [e]to carry His cross.

Footnotes:

  1. Mark 15:15 I.e. whipped with a short whip of metal-tipped leather thongs. There was no limit to the number of lashings. Frequently, the body was so lacerated that the intestines gushed out. It was not uncommon for a prisoner to die from scourging.
  2. Mark 15:16 The residence of the Roman provincial governor.
  3. Mark 15:19 I.e. a long bamboo-like stick.
  4. Mark 15:21 A port city in north Africa.
  5. Mark 15:21 The crossbeam was usually placed on the nape of the neck like a yoke.
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