Faith Dweller or Fear Dweller?
Know: Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Read & Respond: GUATEMALA CITY – Griselda* was walking home with her mother and brother from a Mother’s Day celebration at church. Suddenly a blue car cut in front of the family. A man jumped out, grabbed 13-year-old Griselda, and sped away.
Shocked, Griselda’s mother shouted for help. She flagged down a passing police car, and they drove to a neighborhood notorious for violent crime and gang activity. The blur car was sitting in an empty lot, with Griselda inside. She had been raped at gunpoint by three men. Two fled by the time the police arrived, and the third was arrested. Nineteen-year-old Griselda remembers how she used to be afraid to go outside and struggled with shame and loneliness.
Today Griselda is a confident young woman who shares her story “so that everybody knows that you can overcome an experience such as this.” This story was shared by IJM (International Justice Mission). They walked alongside Griselda and brought those men to justice. I had the upmost privilege of hearing her account firsthand and as I evidenced her healing and thanked her for her courage, she replied “God is good.” I looked in her eyes and saw a peace that only God could bring and replied “He is good indeed.”
I looked in her eyes and saw a peace that only God could bring and replied “He is good indeed.”
It can be tempting to let fear or injustice consume us. Though bitter thoughts of vengeance or unforgiveness may seem to be a show of strength and power, they actually weaken us. Dwelling on injustice can create callouses around our hearts. As Psalm 37 illustrates, it is much more important to create callouses on our knees and allow God to remove our heart callouses. God is a God of justice, and there is true rest and peace in that thought.
Psalm 37:1-4 above gives specific advice to the one tempted to fret over wrongdoers.
First remember they are like herbs, short-lived and shallow. The one who fears God as judge, by contrast, is compared to a fruitful tree (Psalm 1:3).
Second trust God’s justice and seek to do good (as opposed to harm).
Third dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness – literally be fed by faithfulness. We should feed and be satisfied by God’s promises rather than seeking our own retribution or satisfaction.
And finally we are to delight ourselves in the Lord. What does this look like? Psalm 1 gives us another clue in saying “my delight is in the law of the Lord and on it I meditate day and night.” Delighting involves mentally dwelling on and finding joy in God’s goodness rather than obsessing about the wrongdoing of others.
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][tweetthis]Only God could make hope and healing like Griselda has experienced possible. Let’s join her in remembering that God is good. He is good indeed.[/tweetthis]
Core Concept: Rest in God’s justice, renouncing fear and retribution.
Think About It:
1. How do you respond to interpersonal injustice? Workplace injustice? Worldwide injustice?
2. How can dwelling on fear or injustice weaken us and/or create callouses around our hearts?
3. How can “dwelling in the land and befriending faithfulness” help us experience God?
4. How can we say “God is good” in the midst of real terror and horrors?
This Week’s Praise & Worship Prompts:
Day 1: Let the Word Dwell in You
Read through Psalm 37. Pray the Psalm and hide Psalm 37:7 in your heart. Journal Prompt: In what ways or areas of your life do you fear evil or rage at injustice?
Day 2: Walk with Integrity
Read Psalm 37:30-31. The main theme of this Psalm is integrity. This verse talks about the integrity of the heart. How just are we when we fret over the success of those who do not deserve it? How righteous are we when we point out the wrongs of others? Examine your motives and pray you would rely on God’s wisdom and speak justice. Pray these verses this morning and use them as a confession. He is quick to forgive.
Day 3: Be Still
Pray 37:7 today, allowing God to cover you with His peace. In this age of instant gratification the art of waiting is lost on us. How does impatience or unrest weaken us? Why are we to be still before God? What does this process do to our soul? Here is my method for being intentionally still before God:
When God met Elijah on the mountain top in 2 Kings 19:11-12, he asked Elijah to wait for him. When you read the story, you can see first there was a strong wind, then an earthquake, then a fire. But God was in none of these things. Then came a whisper and God was in the whisper. As you sit and spend time with God, let your thoughts run their course (the strong winds), leave the troubling things in life behind (the earthquake) and don’t let your mind wander (the fire). Be still and wait for the whisper, because God is in the whisper.
Day 4: My Identity
Print out Psalm 37 on a piece of paper (or use your Bible if you’re comfortable writing in it). With a pen or pencil, underline everything you learn about man. Ask God to speak to you both about your source of identity and activity, confessing, giving thanks, and asking help where it’s needed.
Day 5: God’s Character is Our Comfort
It goes without saying that trauma and stress can weaken our wellbeing. Is there a current injustice you are facing? Read Psalm 37 and circle all you learn about God’s character and activity. Thank God and meditate on His justice. How much more familiar are you with Psalm 37? Praise Him for His Word & wisdom!
Talk About It: Is there perceived “injustice” in military life you’re tempted to dwell on? Which facet of God’s character can you call on?
Download this week’s study material here
Color Version with Pictures and Memory Verses Black and White Version without Pictures or Memory Verses[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]