A Portrait of Faith Living

For March 27, 2022
We attribute this Psalm to King David, the son of Jesse, a man well acquainted with facing and overcoming adversity—by faith living. This declaration of faith has inspired God’s people for over three-thousand years, as he writes in these  seven verses,

1Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  3Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.  6And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 7Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:1-7 (AKJV)

Sometime around one thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ, David was the revered king of Ancient Israel for 40 years. Yet, his was an arduous journey.

    • He was born in Bethlehem, from the tribe of Judah as the youngest son of Jesse; the great-grandson of Boaz and Ruth and the ancestor of Jesus Christ.
    • He defeated the giant Goliath and the Philistine army with a stone and sling. But this notoriety made him a fugitive from King Saul’s wrath for about 8-10 years.
    • The men of Judah made him king at Hebron after Saul and Jonathan died in battle. Seven and a half years later, David becomes Israel’s king with Jerusalem, the City of David, as its political and religious center.
    • He has adulterous relations with Bathsheba and arranges her husband Uriah’s death in battle. (Solomon will be born later from this union.) Another son, Absalom, instigates a coup to overthrow him, but he dies in a skirmish.
    • He brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and desires to build a temple on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. Nathan the prophet tells him that Solomon would do so. Yet God promises to establish his kingdom forever. (Fulfilled through Christ.)

Despite the adversities, poor choices, and character flaws, we regard David as a “man after God’s own heart.” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) This because:

    • He had total faith in God.
    • He sought the Lord and lived by God’s Word, and
    • He didn’t excuse his sin but repented of them.

Today, we face our share of challenges. Personal tragedies coupled with the recent pandemic hysteria have altered how we view the world and each other, and what we consider “normal.”

For example, I can remember when our society, and our rule of law, preserved a contrast between right and wrong. We respected and welcomed prayer, the Ten Commandments, and Judeo-Christian values in the public discourse. Now, we condemn the righteous and praise the wicked to our own peril, just as the Bible warns,

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34 (AKJV)

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20 (AKJV)

Sin surrounds us daily with increased hatred and hostility when, as a “civilized society,” we should show compassion and courtesy. We have a sacred trust to preserve public civility, decency, and goodwill wherever we are. We share this world with other human beings—made in God’s image. So it is in our best interest to spread goodwill. Otherwise, we will have more exploitation, discord, and violence.

Yet, as we face adversity, we have the comforting promise of God’s Word,

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10, 16-18 (NKJV)

Here is David’s Portrait for Faith Living:

Fret Not
The Hebrew word for fret is charah (Strong – H2734), to burn or be kindled with anger. Other uses of the word are to become angry or furious, burn, be distressed, rage, or get very angry. Do not become heated with anger or become inflamed by the wicked exploits of godless degenerates. Do not let what others say or do shake your faith in God’s sovereign government, or be swept away with anxiety and fear because of what is happening around you. Anger will not resolve the issue. It can only produce ulcers, anxiety, and ill will.

The wicked’s success is of a very short duration. God sees, knows, and judges everyone and everything perfectly in this life and in the next. To many of us live for the here and now—“three-score and ten, and the most toys win!”—and forget that there is a vast eternity beyond the grave, and that we must acknowledge Him rightly to avoid eternal peril,

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  Matthew 16:26 (AKJV)

As one writer puts it,

[We] have every reason to strengthen and exercise ourselves in faith in the holy government of God and in obedience to God’s holy will, in order that we may live to see the end and wait patiently for the result.1

In due time, God will avenge His own and remedy every transgression on earth. We may not see retribution in our lifetime, but God has promised final and complete vindication of His eternal righteousness,

It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them. Deuteronomy 32:35 (NIV)

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.      Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)

And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.  Revelation 20:12 (NKJV)

God’s in full control. Our focus should always be on the Lord; confident that He will handle the matter decisively. Thus, we can trust Him implicitly,

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD God is the eternal Rock. He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust. The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot, and the needy walk all over it. But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them. Isaiah 26:3-7 (NLT)

The Hebrew word for trust is batach (Strong – H982), to trust. Other uses of the word are: confident, feel secure, have confidence, put one’s trust, to rely, or secure. As another author observes,

It exhorts us to trust in the protection of God, the righteous Judge, and to persevere in doing good, with the assurance of the final and often very sudden ruin of the wicked, and the sure deliverance and manifold blessings of the righteous.”2

Our faith is in God’s sovereignty and providence. Despite what is happening around us, the Lord wants us to trust in Him. And, He wants us to conduct ourselves in a manner that honors Jesus Christ—simultaneously,

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12: 1-2, 14-18 (NLT)

We trust in the Lord and by His Spirit working in us, we maintain our Christ-like character and behavior. The Lord has promised to show His faithfulness towards His precious children,

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.  2 Chronicles 16:9 (AKJV)

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

While we bask in His faithfulness, we can also delight in Him.

The Hebrew word for delight is anog (Strong H6026), to make soft, pliable, delicate, or dainty, to live or spend in enjoyment. Other uses of the word are to be dainty or delicate, to take delight, to live or spend in enjoyment. The heart that delights in God will find its truest pleasure and satisfaction in being well and at ease. Here, expectation and fulfillment are realized as our desires for Him fulfill themselves.

It is easy to delight when we love the Lord. Jesus tells us that this is the greatest of all the Commandments,

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV)

The Lord is and has all that can delight us perfectly. To delight in God is to find our most fulfilled wishes and deeply abiding joys. As we delight in Him, and we desire His perfect will, His abiding peace, joy, and tranquility can fill our souls. When we delight in the Lord, we can then commit all of our ways to Him.

The Hebrew word for commit is galal (Strong H1556), to roll or roll away. Other uses of the word are to roll down, to roll away, or to take away. When we “commit our way unto Him,” or “roll our concerns upon Him,” we are trusting in His ability to accomplish something on our behalf, because we know He will do it—completely and perfectly. To roll our way upon the Lord also implies our subordination to His perfect will and judgment in everything. In other words, we are confident in His ability to solve every problem and answer every question,

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen! 1 Peter 5:6-7, 10-11 (NKJV)

As we commit and trust, He will vindicate us and cause His righteousness to shine like the noonday sun. Then we can find complete rest and peace in Him.

The Hebrew word for rest is damam (Strong H1826), to cease or to be or grow dumb, silent or still. Other uses of the word are to cease or forbear, to hold one’s peace, to quiet one’s self, rest, to be silent, keep (or put to) silence, be (or stand) still, tarry, or wait. Resting in the Lord and waiting patiently for Him shows confidence that He will perform what He promised—in the fullness of time. It is not up to us to understand the mysteries of God or the timing of His actions. However, it is up to us to rest in Him, and trust that His timing has been, is now, and will always be perfect; accomplishing His perfect outcome,

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14 (AKJV)

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.   Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NLT)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)

Ours is an everlasting, faith relationship with a living Savior, who will never leave us or forsake us. We have an exceptional fellowship with the King of Kings, and Lord or Lords, as this hymnist attests,

What A Fellowship

Anthony Johnson Showalter (1858-1924)

What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; What a blessedness, what a peace is mine, Leaning on the everlasting arms.

O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, Leaning on the everlasting arms; O how bright the path grows from day to day, Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear, Leaning on the everlasting arms; I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; Leaning, leaning, Leaning on the everlasting arms.

We cannot trust when we are fretting; we cannot commit if we do not delight, and without our commitment, we will never find rest in Him. Won’t you give your heart to Jesus and perform His portrait of faith living today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

  1. Carl Bernhard Moll, “The Psalms,” trans. Charles A. Briggs, et al., John Peter Lange, Lange’s Commentary of the Holy Scriptures, new ed., vol. 5, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980) 256.
  2. Carl Bernhard Moll, “The Psalms,” 254