Promises or Presents?

Promises or Presents?

Read Psalm 37

This Psalm is filled with the promises of God--not just for now but for eternity. As believers, we should pay special attention to the things God has told us He will do. 

In the first few verses, we get a snapshot of God's long-term plans. Specifically, we learn that He will "give you the desires of your heart", "bring forth your righteousness", and "bring forth...your justice".

These things sound great, right?

They absolutely do--but we can't stop reading there. If the assurance of our personal wellbeing is all we draw from this passage, we've completely missed the point. Psalm 37 wasn't written to simply list the benefits of following God, but to draw our attention to how and why these things happen.

Too often we look at the promises of God like birthday presents--we didn't necessarily earn them, but they consistently show up to celebrate and affirm our existence. If this is our metaphor, we've only got it half-right. Birthday presents, though they're not earned or deserved, are designed to bring glory and honor to the recipient. This perfectly captures one crucial aspect of God's kingdom (that we can't earn the favor of God) but fails to recognize what David did: the promises of God exist for His glory, not ours.

By Grace Through Faith

Psalm 37 was written to encourage and strengthen the reader, especially when it felt like God wasn't going to keep His promises. David shows us two distinct but important aspects of God-honoring faith in the face of hardships:

  1. He has no doubt that God will fulfill His promises--he is full of faith.

  2. He takes every opportunity to remind the reader that the fulfillment of God's promises is by God's power alone.

The promises of God are beautiful and powerful--worth spending much of our time on. But we must be wary, that they never become tools for our own glorification.

So, will God "give you the desires of your heart", "bring forth your righteousness", and "bring forth...your justice"? Absolutely--and we should wait eagerly to see these promises fulfilled in this world--not for our glory, but for His. The mark of true faith then, according to Psalm 37, is not believing the promises will come, but glorifying and exalting God even when they haven't arrived yet. This is our challenge from Psalm 37: to put faith over sight and reliance over action. Let's practice this patience, trust, and humility in our conversations with God this week.

Scripture & Prayer

God, give me faith to trust and rely on You. Not just when I can see you at work, but also when I can't. Help me to surrender the glory to You in every circumstance. Amen.

The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.

Psalm 37:39-40

Josh DunnComment