How do we read this? "there is a future for the man of peace"So I often read through the Psalms. This one has me stuck for a while. Read Psalm 37 and come back with me.
My problem is not with understanding it, or at least I don't think. My problem is with relating to this at all. Do we have any right to read this, or any of the Psalms about vindication and justice for the righteous, as though they apply to us? This is the basic question. Two other questions that come out of it: 1. If not, do we have any right to read any bibilical passage as though it is our own? 2. If we can read it applying to us, what becomes of its meaning?
In some verses i think we may represent the "evidoers" (bushism?), because I find it difficult to ever think of us as persecuted in anyway. In what sense do we depend upon God for our righteousness, in this sense vindication and justice? Haven't we pretty much taken the land as our own already (vs. 9), secured our heritage (18), and, as such, seemingly created our own salvation?
This Psalm reads to me, in our context, as a ringing conviction and reminder that for those of us in abundance to begin to make the bibilcal story we must first become identified with the biblical people of God, those who are faithful to the Lord (3), on the side of the poor and needy (14), and depend upon God for our vindication, life, and justice. We have made it impossible for God to vindicate us, provide for us, and deliver us, because we have done these things for ourselves already. This is why we feel as though passages like this are only understood spiritually and metaphorically. Now those that persecute us are those who try to make our minds impure or have a little more money than me or try to teach our kids evolution in school. Is this a fair read of the text? I believe that for us, the text first of all requires our conversion into the person of the righteous before we can assume that God will perserve and vindicate us.
5Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. 6He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
10In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.
14The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; 15their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
16Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. 17For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.
37Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. 38But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.
39The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. 40The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him