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                         "THE BOOK OF PSALMS"

              Psalm 37 - The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth

OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS PSALM

1) To learn why we should not fret, become angry, or be envious of the
   wicked when they prosper

2) To see the importance of trusting in the Lord and committing our ways
   to Him

3) To note the context from which came the beatitude "Blessed are the
   meek, for they shall inherit the earth."

SUMMARY

This psalm of David is didactic in nature, filled with instruction for
God's people.  It was evidently written late in life, in which David
shares his observations (25).  A recurring theme is who will inherit the
earth (9,11,22,29,34), and the answer of the psalmist is one of the
beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Mt 5:5).  From the context of
the psalm, we might understand the beatitude to refer to blessings in
this life for those who trust in God (cf. Mt 6:33; Mk 10:29-30).  Not
that they may literally possess more of this earth's riches, but their
ability to enjoy it is blessed by God (16; cf. Ec 5:19-6:2).

Acrostic in the original Hebrew, the psalm is somewhat difficult to
outline.  It begins with a series of exhortations directed to the
righteous, to trust in the Lord and not fret or be angry when the wicked
prosper (1-8).  It continues with an exposition contrasting the wicked
and the righteous, illustrating the futility of the wicked and the
steadfastness of the righteous (9-26).  It ends with counsel for one to
do good and depart from evil, to wait on the Lord and keep His way, and
to take careful note of the future of the righteous as opposed to the
end of the wicked (27-40).

OUTLINE

I. EXHORTATION FOR THE RIGHTEOUS (37:1-8)

   A. DO NOT ENVY EVILDOERS (1-2)
      1. Do not fret nor be envious of the workers of iniquity
      2. They shall soon wither and be cut away

   B. PUT YOUR FAITH IN THE LORD (3-8)
      1. Trust in the Lord and do good
         a. Dwell in the land, feeding on His faithfulness
         b. Delight in the Lord, who will give you the desires of your
            heart
      2. Commit your way to the Lord, trusting in Him
         a. He shall bring your plans to pass
         b. He shall bring forth your righteousness and justice
      3. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him
         a. Do not fret because of the prosperous or wicked
         b. Cease from anger, wrath and worry, it only causes harm

II. EXPOSITION ON THE WICKED AND RIGHTEOUS (37:9-26)

   A. THE FUTILITY OF THE WICKED (9-17)
      1. The wicked shall be cut off and be no more
         a. While those who wait on the Lord shall inherit the earth
         b. While the meek shall inherit the earth and enjoy an
            abundance of peace
      2. The wicked shall be defeated
         a. Despite their plots against the just and gnashing of teeth
            1) The Lord laughs
            2) He sees their day coming
         b. Despite their weapons against the poor and righteous
            1) Which they have drawn to cast down and slay
            2) Which shall enter their own hearts and be broken
      3. Better than the riches of the wicked is the poverty of the
         righteous
         a. The arms of the wicked shall be broken
         b. The Lord will uphold the righteous

   B. THE STEADFASTNESS OF THE RIGHTEOUS (18-26)
      1. The LORD knows the days of the righteous
         a. Their inheritance shall be forever
         b. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time
         c. They shall be satisfied in the days of famine
      2. The wicked and enemies of the LORD shall perish
         a. They shall vanish like the splendor of the meadows
         b. They shall vanish away like smoke
      3. The righteous shows mercy and gives, the wicked who borrows and
         does not repay
         a. For those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the earth
         b. While those cursed by Him shall be cut off
      4. The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD
         a. The Lord delights in his way
         b. Even though he falls, he is not utterly cast down
         c. For the Lord upholds him with His hand

III. COUNSEL FOR THE RIGHTEOUS (37:27-40)

   A. DEPART FROM EVIL, DO GOOD, AND DWELL IN THE LAND (27-33)
      1. For the LORD loves justice and does not forsake His saints
         a. They are preserved, while the wicked shall be cut off
         b. The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell in it forever
      2. The virtues of the righteous
         a. His mouth speaks wisdom, his tongue talks of justice
         b. The law of his God is in his heart, none of his steps shall
            slide
      3. The protection of the LORD
         a. Despite the attempts of the wicked to slay the righteous
         b. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him
            when he is judged

   B. WAIT ON THE LORD AND KEEP HIS WAY (34-36)
      1. He shall exalt you to inherit the land
      2. You shall see it when the wicked are cut off
         a. Even as the wicked once grew like a tree in great power
         b. But later could not be found for he was no more

   C. NOTE THE BLAMELESS AND UPRIGHT (37-40)
      1. Mark the blameless, observe the upright, in contrast to the
         wicked
         a. The future of that man is peace
         b. The future of wicked shall be destroyed and cut off
      2. The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD
         a. He is their strength in times of trouble
         b. He shall help and deliver them from the wicked, because they
            trust in Him

REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE PSALM

1) What are the main points of this psalm?
   - Exhortation for the righteous (1-8)
   - Exposition on the wicked and the righteous (9-26)
   - Counsel for the righteous (27-33)

2) What does David tell us not to do when others are wicked and
   prosperous?  Why? (1,7,8)
   - Do not fret, be envious, or angry; it only causes one harm

3) Why should we not be bothered about the prosperity of the wicked?
   (2,9,10)
   - They shall soon be cut off; they shall soon be no more

4) What are we encouraged to do? (3-7)
   - Trust in the Lord, do good
   - Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness
   - Delight in the Lord
   - Commit your way to the Lord
   - Trust in Him
   - Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him

5) Who is said to inherit the earth? (9,11,22,29,34)
   - Those who wait on the LORD
   - The meek
   - Those blessed by the LORD
   - The righteous
   - Those who wait on the LORD and keep His Way

6) What will happen to the efforts of the wicked against the just?
   (12-15)
   - Their efforts will turn on to themselves

7) What is better than the riches of many wicked?  Why? (16-17)
   - A little that a righteous man has; because the LORD upholds the
     righteous

8) What is said concerning the upright? (18-19)
   - The LORD knows their days
   - Their inheritance shall be forever
   - They shall not be ashamed in the evil time
   - They shall be satisfied in the days of famine

9) What will happen to the wicked and the enemies of the LORD? (20)
   - They shall perish and vanish away

10) What difference is noted between the wicked and righteous
    concerning money? (21)
   - The wicked borrows and does not repay; the righteous shows mercy
     and gives

11) What is said about the steps of a good man? (23-24)
   - They are ordered by the LORD, He delights in his way
   - If he falls, he will not be utterly cast down, for the LORD upholds
     him

12) What observation has the psalmist made in life? (25-26)
   - He has never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants
     begging bread
   - The righteous is ever merciful and lends, his descendants are
     blessed

13) Why should we depart from evil and do good? (27-29)
   - For the LORD loves justice and does not forsake His saints
   - They are preserved, and the righteous shall inherit the land

14) What is noted about the mouth and heart of the righteous? (30-31)
   - The mouth speaks wisdom and tongue talks of justice; the law of his
     God is in heart

15) Who protects the righteous from the wicked? (32-33)
   - The LORD

16) What is one exhorted to do in verse 34?  Why?
   - Wait on the LORD and keep his way; He shall exalt you to inherit
     the land

17) What has the psalmist seen? (35-36)
   - The wicked in great power, spreading like a tree; yet he passed
     away and could not be found

18) What are we told to notice about the blameless and upright man? The
    wicked? (37-38)
   - His future is peace; their future shall be cut off

19) What is said about the righteous in the last two verses? (39-40)
   - Their salvation is from the LORD
   - He is their strength in time of trouble
   - They LORD shall help them and deliver them from the wicked

20) Why will the LORD save the righteous? (40)
	- Because they trust in Him
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