Psalm 37: Day 7

Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land. (Psalms 37:8-9)

The poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling begins, “if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…”.

Hundreds of times a day we make choices and decisions. There are the routine choices – when to get up, what to wear, what to eat, when to go to bed. And there are the big decisions – “Should I see the doctor about this”? What bills should I pay and which ones can wait”? “Which job should I take”? “I’m so unhappy, should I leave my husband”? Pretty much all of life is a series of choices and decisions, a lot of “ifs”.

As we read through Psalm 37 I think one thing we are learning is that our choices, every decision, has consequences. One important point before we go on, the bible says “be angry and do not sin” so we can conclude that there is anger that is not sinful, that will be a discussion for another time. Our passage today is talking about another kind of anger, the kind that does lead to sin.

In these two verses we see first of all that anger is a choice, if it were not we would not be told to cease from it. The Hebrew word for cease here is raphah, it means to be quiet, to relax, to let go. Easy to do? Not at all. Necessary? Absolutely! Read on.

Next we see the consequences of giving in to our anger. This is where it gets real. The Psalmist tells us that this anger leads to evildoing. We are also told that giving in to anger brings division. It will cause us to be “cut off”. Pause for a minute to think about all that implies. Think about the times you have allowed your anger to take control. I could give you a list of potential consequences but I’m sure you have your own.

Finally, we are given the alternative to our anger. All is not lost, we have a “but” (I love it when God say “but” don’t you?) “But those who wait for the Lord will inherit the land”. What a promise! It’s a two-fold promise. It’s a promise of power, the power we have through Christ to control our anger. It’s a promise of blessing.

We will talk about this more tomorrow as we examine the next verses. Until then, we have a lot to chew on.

Copyright ©️ 2023 Sandra Bivens Smith. All rights reserved.

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