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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

No Fretting Allowed (Psalm 37:1, 7, 8)

"Do not fret because of evil men . . . do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes . . . do not fret--it leads only to evil."

What does it mean to fret?
fret - to become agitated in mind; to eat at or gnaw; to smoulder.
fret - to be angry with, be incensed; to burn, kindle; to heat oneself in vexation. (Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible)


When I watch the politically biased news I feel powerless; I fret and stew over what I hear-that's fretting! Fretting is the natural reaction to threatening situations, bad news, or difficult people. Parents fret over wayward children. Retirees fret over their financial situations. Employees and employers fret about the effect the recession is having in the workplace. Taxpayers fret over how their money is thrown around in Washington. There is always plenty to fret about. What are you fretting over?

This warning against fretting must be pretty serious for David to have repeated it three times in eight short verses. These verses teach us four truths:

1. We are specifically commanded not to fret.
2. Fretting is caused by allowing evildoers (and our particular situation) to become our focus. The wicked seem to, not only get away with wrong doing, but they prosper in their wicked schemes.
3. Fretting leads to negative cconsequences. Typically the person who frets winds up doing something they will later regret.
4. David lists the cure for fretting:
  • Focus on the Lord
  • Trust in the Lord
  • Delight yourself in the Lord
  • Commit your way to the Lord
  • Be still before the Lord
  • Wait patiently for Him
  • Refrain from anger
  • Turn from wrath
These are all intentional activities. Fretting thoughts are reined in and given to the Lord. Isaiah promises that the mind set upon the Lord will be kept in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). So, not fretting is WORK. It is mental discipline.

David experiences the peace of God as he gets God's eternal perspective on evil doers. He understands, in verse nine, that "evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land." God will cut them off. There is nothing wrong then, with feeling powerless; it is what you do with your powerlessness that matters. You can either fret and end up doing something stupid and sinful or you can acknowledge your powerlessness and place your hope in the Lord. Up to you.


Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Psalm 37
  • Make a two column list with righteous heading one column and wicked heading the other. As you read this psalm list the truths about the righteous and the wicked.
  • What does the Lord promise He will do for the righteous? the wicked?
  • What is the one thing that will keep your feet from slipping while the wicked carry out their wicked schemes?
Psalm 9
  • What is the cause for David's rejoicing?
  • Describe David's view of God.
Psalm 10
  • Continue filling out the deeds of the wicked/righteous in the columns you developed for Psalm 37.
  • How do the wicked view life? God?
2 Samuel 15:37; 16:15. (We will look more closely at Ahithophel tomorrow.)

Psalm 27
  • What keeps fear from taking over?
  • What has running from Absalom done for David's prayer life?
Turning truth into prayer:
Are you fretting over something in your life today. Confess your powerlessness in the situation to the Lord and put your trust in Him.