Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #230 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Psalm 37 today and our focus is on A Word For The Taliban and What is Happening in Afghanistan + The Fruitlessness of Worry and Fretting. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new in listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Today we are in the Psalms again, and I will repeat what I’ve been saying for the past few months: only recently – since 2020, really, have the Psalms become more and more of a delight to me. I generally start every day now reading a Psalm or two, and this is because I got in the bad habit in 2020 of starting my day reading the #of new Covid cases in my county, which ended up being bad for my soul. I still read that covid case # pretty much every day, ugh, but my day begins with the Psalms, and I find that is so much better for my walk with God than any other way of beginning the day.
As I type this, the big news worldwide is not the fourth or fifth massive Covid wave though, it is the sad fact that the Taliban has swept through Afghanistan and taken over the capital of Kabul. I have never been to Afghanistan, so I have not first hand experience, but I am hearing from various mission agencies and missionaries that many Christian Afghans are in great peril with the Taliban taking control. Psalm 37:14-15 seems to have a Word for these conquering Taliban, should they continue to slaughter people, mistreat women, and brutalize:
The wicked have drawn the sword and strung the bow
to bring down the poor and needy
and to slaughter those whose way is upright.
15 Their swords will enter their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken…20 But the wicked will perish;
the Lord’s enemies, like the glory of the pastures,
will fade away—
they will fade away like smoke. Psalm 37:14-15, 20
This will be the end of all who brutalize the innocent, bring down the poor and needy and murder those who are upright. They may appear to triumph for a moment, but their end will be destruction and their punishment will be eternal. Their tiny victory will be swallowed up in eons upon eons of suffering.
About a month ago, I was reading through Psalm 37 in the morning, and was utterly struck by a very simple truth in vs. 8:
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. Psalm 37:8
Fret not yourself. Such good counsel, and so difficult to follow. I recognize that I have more of a tendency to fret myself in my late forties than I did in my early 40s, or 30s, or 20s, or teens. Maybe it is just a temporary stage in life, for now, but I wanted to remember this truth, so I wrote it down on the dry erase board on our fridge. Three times in this passage, we are told not to fret ourselves. And, if you are like me, and the word fret sounds like a holdover from the 1700s, its probably good to review a definition. Fret means 1. “To be constantly or visibly worried or anxious.” and 2. “to gradually wear away (something) by rubbing or gnawing.” (Source: Oxford languages) So – our key verse today tells us to not constantly worry ourselves or be anxious and not to wear ourselves away by rubbing or gnawing. That seems like good advice, though definition #2 is obviously a bit metaphorical in this case.
- Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb. Psalm 37:1-2
- Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices! Psalm 37:7
- Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. Psalm 37:8-9
These are good commands to meditate on, and notice that they are surrounded by promises that should help us to counteract our fretting. The command is not simply to stop doing something negative, but to stop doing something negative, like fretting, because of a wonderful and promised truth, such as the fact that “evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait on God will inherit the land!” Pondering those promises in our hearts wages war against worry, anxiety and fretting.
Here are some wise words from Spurgeon on how to trust Christ in a greater way, and not fret yourself.
I think that this is the principal thing you and I have to do. When we think about our Lord Jesus Christ, we need not worry ourselves about how he will effect his purposes, how the decrees of God will be carried out, or how his promises will be fulfilled. The principal thing we have to do is this,—to be ourselves the Lord’s servants, and when he says to any one of us, “Go,” to mind that we do go, and when he says, “Come,” to see that we do come, and when he says, “Do this,” to be sure that we do it. Thou wouldst rule the seas? Thou hadst better rule thyself. Thou wouldst purge the Church? Thou hadst better see to it that thine own heart is purged. Thou wouldst reform the world? Out on thee! What hast thou to do with reforming the world till thou hast first washed thine own hands in innocency? Get thee to thy right place, and do thou thine own work, and it shall be well with thee. What art thou, after all, but as a tiny worker on a little ant-hill? Thou hast thy one grain of wheat to carry, and that is enough for thee; but do not worry thyself about all the concerns of the ant-hill; if thou dost, at least do not fret thyself about the whole planet on which thou livest, still less about the complete solar system, for what canst thou do with it if thou dost worry thy poor antship even unto death? Nay, but do thy little share of work upon thine own ant-hill, carry thine own grain of wheat to the general store, so thou shalt have answered the purpose of thy being, and it shall be well with thee. May God, even our Lord Jesus Christ, give us the grace to set him up very high as Lord and Master, full of power, and wisdom, and love; and then to set ourselves down very low, and to ask that, as his servants, we may serve him faithfully all the days of our life!
C. H. Spurgeon, “‘A Man under Authority,’” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 41 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1895), 485.
That said, let me say that it is good to carry the burden for our Afghan brothers and sisters. To pray and to help where possible. I am not saying that we should not be burdened or concerned for the evils in the world, and neither is Spurgeon. Be concerned, Be burdened. Help. Pray. But, do not fret yourself. Christ the King comes soon to settle the scores, punish the evil, and the meek shall inherit the Earth – not the bloodthirsty, the vile, or the abusive.
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.” C.S. Lewis The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Bible Memory verses for the month of August: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
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