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When the Wicked Thrive

Proper Perspective When Threatened

October 13, 2019

Psalm 37:12-22

When the Wicked Thrive: Proper Perspective When Threatened

Psalm 37:12-22



I. When evil threatens, the Lord laughs; 37:12-13.

12 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.

While the wicked may plot against the righteous and even cause them trouble and pain – “gnashing their teeth at them,” God remains unimpressed and unconcerned, even laughing at their pretense of power.

The threats of ungodly people toward believers can be very intimidating and cause us to worry and even pull back from being who God calls us to be. Knowing that God sees it all and that the power of the wicked is limited in time, makes hope and patience possible on our part.

II. When evil threatens, the Lord turns it on them; 37:14-15.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. 15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.

The wicked may move from threats to draw their swords and bows to attack, to oppress the poor and needy, and kill the upright. God will turn the evil they intend back upon them. God’s plans will not be thwarted. Even if a believer is killed, they gain eternal life. Don’t fear, evil people around you are not getting away with anything.

III. When evil threatens, the Lord upholds the righteous; 37:16-17.

16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; 17 for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.

A mistake easily made by the righteous is to think that wealth would improve their lives and provide security. The pursuit of wealth for its own sake detracts from the goal of righteous living and sharing the gospel. It is the righteous who ultimately have the better end. The wealth and power of the wicked will gain them nothing, while the righteous can anticipate God’s help. Having God on your side is far better than gaining wealth and power.

IV. When evil threatens, through the Lord, we endure forever; 37:18-19.

18 The days of the blameless are known to the LORD, and their inheritance will endure forever. 19 In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

Each day of the blameless is known to God and comes within His protective care. “Blameless” is a condition that God provides us through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. Though it appears that those who reject God are enjoying life more, God is on your side providing eternal care and security.

V. When evil threatens, the Lord promises they will perish; 37:20.

20 But the wicked will perish: The LORD’s enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish–vanish like smoke.

God promises again that the ungodly will all perish and will not last. Trust God to vindicate you in His time.

VI. When evil threatens, the Lord empowers us to give generously; 37:21-22.

21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; 22 those the LORD blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be cut off.

The righteous are not deterred or envious of the wealth of those who reject God. Instead of trying to be like them and amass wealth, they give generously.

Everywhere we look, those who deny or ignore God often seem to enjoy easy lives of prosperity and security. We must admit it is easy for us to choose each day to participate in seeking self-will, self-power, self-comfort, and ease.

Often, when confronted by evil in our world, we want God to be our escape. The truth is life in a world thoroughly corrupted by human evil is going to remain difficult and painful. God cannot remove us from the pain of living without removing us from life itself.

He empowers us to take on the evil of this world with strength, hope, and joy because of the gospel. We are to share this message with those who are evil or ungodly so that they may experience salvation before it is too late.