Resting and waiting on the Lord is something that I still struggle with daily. As I shared last time, it is also the smartest thing we can do. It is easy to become so involved with things around us that we often neglect to simply rest and wait. We become tempted to act when we see injustice, suffering, or other problems which must be solved. But we see within the Bible a verse that reminds us to do just that: Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass (Psalms 37:7).
The last part of the verse
The first two parts of the verse have been pretty straight forward in what the Lord wants us to do. The first part, Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him, reminds us there are times when we simply need to take a step back and let the Lord handle things. The next phrase of the verse, fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, is another reminder that we don’t know enough about anyone else’s situation in life to pass judgment. We often forget this and rush to judge others by an artificial standard we’ve constructed. It is a faulty judgment because we base it on our standards.
The third part of this verse, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass, is another reminder for us. And like the other reminders, too often we forget this important one. This part of the verse is about those who are bent on doing evil – doing things in direct opposition to the Lord. If we are honest with ourselves, we pay more attention to them than what we really need to.
Setting the right priority
Since I began studying the Bible more seriously in 2006, I’ve learned that when the same thing is recorded in two separate places it’s really important. David understood the importance about not worrying about the wicked and their plans. David understood a precept which Jesus would later teach during His earthly ministry: And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do (Luke 12:4).
The same teaching is recorded in the book of Matthew, but with a slight twist: And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). We should be more worried about what the Lord sees within us than what those who want to do evil have planned. The most severe thing that evil can do to a believer of the Lord is to kill the body. And as Christians, we know what happens at that moment: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).
We still have an obligation to share the gospel
A while back ago I was told by a college student that she never shares the gospel with people she believes are too evil to receive Christ. As followers of Jesus, it is not our responsibility to decide with whom we share the gospel. We are simply commanded by Jesus: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). There are no qualifiers, no rules of who we are to avoid. Just a commandment to spread the gospel.
The apostle Paul understood something about our divine mission: I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building (1 Corinthians 3:6-9). I’ve seen too many well-meaning Christians who believe that every time they share the gospel there’s no success unless a profession of faith is made. This is not at all what should drive us. We are simply the conduit through which the Holy Spirit works.
The ultimate fate of the wicked should be our concern…
but it shouldn’t become such a preoccupation that we lose focus. We all know people who become preoccupied with making sure the wicked “get what’s coming to them.” God even reminds us several times in the Bible that it’s not our place to make sure the wicked are punished. We don’t have that responsibility. Once we have shared the gospel with those who are bent on being wicked, our scriptural responsibility is complete.
God’s set this standard back in the Old Testament: Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:18). It has never been the responsibility of humankind to seek revenge against another. Instead, we are to love others as we love ourselves. And it should be this love that drives us to share the gospel with them. Paul reminds us of this important teaching: Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord (Romans 12:19).
We share the gospel and our responsibility stops there. We are not to do anything other than that. No revenge, no setting up scenarios to get even. We must simply share the love of Jesus with them. This can become a true test of our faith in Jesus. We must allow the Lord to be God without reservation or second guessing.
There’s no need to worry
When we worry about what awaits others, regardless of if our view is right or wrong, we are letting God know how we think He should handle others. It’s difficult knowing there are people out there who treat others with such contempt and hatred. There are people out there who have intentionally hurt us or those we love. And it becomes easy for bitterness and worry to preoccupy our minds with thoughts of what we think what they deserve.
David wrote, But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness (Psalms 9:7-8). We don’t need to worry about what awaits the wicked. The Lord has already prepared for their judgment – and unlike what fills our hearts, it is a righteous judgment. Solomon expounded on this very thing in more detail: I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work (Ecclesiastes 3:17).
Resting and waiting upon the Lord
The Lord’s desire is for us not to fill our days with worry or stress. He doesn’t want us to waste our time trying to figure out ways to get even or to punish those we believe who need it. There are times He simply wants us to wait (not do anything without His guidance) and trust (this means commit our entire being under his Lordship) upon Him. Again, the verse for this series reads: Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass (Psalms 37:7). We could free up so much of our mind and wasted energy if we just followed God’s advice and wisdom.