Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.– Psalm 37:1
Anger, wrath, fretfulness, and envy insinuate themselves into our fleshly hearts when we see evil-doers and workers of iniquity prosper in this life. Why, say we, should the wicked prosper more than we, who are the children of God? But, dear child of God, “fret not [yourself] because of evildoers,” nor “be envious against the workers of iniquity.”
Fret not yourself when you see “the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:3) and observe “the ungodly” prospering in the world (v. 12), becoming rich in temporal goods while walking in wicked ways and bringing wicked devices to pass. For consider “their end” (v. 17b). Surely the Lord has “set them in slippery places” and has “cast them down into destruction” (v. 18)! The evil-doers and workers of iniquity shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb (Psalm 37:2); they shall be cut off (v. 9); for yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yes, you shall diligently consider his place, and it shall not be (v. 10). And where shall he be? Ah, the Lord shall break the arm of the wicked (v. 17); the wicked shall perish; and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs. They shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away (v. 20). Therefore, O child of God, cease from anger, and forsake wrath, and leave off fretting and envying, lest you, too, be tempted to materialism and become wicked and perish in despair, as, but for the grace of God, almost happened to the psalmist Asaph (Psalm 73:2-3).
For the children of God, who in quietness and meekness confidently wait on the Lord for His promised gracious blessings and delight themselves in seeking first His kingdom (Matthew 6:33) and “the righteousness of God which is by faith of [in] Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Romans 3:22), “shall inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (Psalm 37:11; cf. Romans 5:1). Considering the Lord’s gracious blessings upon His children, “a little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked” (Psalm 37:16). The Lord knows the days of the upright; and their inheritance, yes, their inheritance and treasure, shall be forever (v. 18). The Lord upholds the righteous. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied (v. 19).
Oh, therefore, remain a child of God by faith in His Son and in the merciful forgiveness and imputed righteousness which He earned for you by His holy life and by His innocent suffering and death, and fret not yourself because of evil-doers here in this world, neither be envious against the workers of iniquity, who deny the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction (II Peter 2:1b).
PRAYER – Lord God, dear Heavenly Father, give me Thy Holy Spirit, that I may enjoy great “joy and peace in believing,” as Thy child by faith in Thy Son, resting confidently and safely in Thy bosom for His sake. Grant that I never fall into sinful anxiety because of the seeming prosperity of the wicked, nor envy those who, because of their unbelief and persistent iniquity, soon shall be destroyed. O Lord, by Thy grace and the effectual working of Thy Spirit through the Gospel, I earnestly desire above all else to be Thy child here in time and hereafter in eternity, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Savior. Amen.
What is the world to me with all its vaunted pleasure,
when Thou, and Thou alone, Lord Jesus, art my treasure?
Thou only, dearest Lord, my soul’s delight shalt be;
Thou art my Peace, my Rest – What is the world to me?
Hymn 430, 1