|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
37:34-40 Duty is ours, and we must mind it; but events are God's, we must refer the disposal of them to him. What a striking picture is in ver. 35,36, of many a prosperous enemy of God! But God remarkably blights the projects of the prosperous wicked, especially persecutors. None are perfect in themselves, but believers are so in Christ Jesus. If all the saint's days continue dark and cloudy, his dying day may prove comfortable, and his sun set bright; or, if it should set under a cloud, yet his future state will be everlasting peace. The salvation of the righteous will be the Lord's doing. He will help them to do their duties, to bear their burdens; help them to bear their troubles well, and get good by them, and, in due time, will deliver them out of their troubles. Let sinners then depart from evil, and do good; repent of and forsake sin, and trust in the mercy of God through Jesus Christ. Let them take his yoke upon them, and learn of him, that they may dwell for evermore in heaven. Let us mark the closing scenes of different characters, and always depend on God's mercy.
Verse 34. - Wait on the lord (comp. vers. 2, 5, 7; and Psalm 27:14; Psalm 62:5; Psalm 130:5; Proverbs 20:22). The injunction is repeated so often because of man's extreme impatience and unwillingness to "tarry the Lord's leisure" (Prayer-book Version of Psalm 27:16) trustfully and confidently. And keep his way. The way in which he would have them walk - the way of righteousness (comp. ver. 3). And he shall exalt thee to inherit the land (see ver. 29, and the comment ad loc.). When the ungodly are cut off, thou shalt see it (comp. Psalm 52:5, 6; Psalm 91:8). Doubtless with some satisfaction. As the "ungodly" spoken of are employed in watching for an occasion to "slay" the righteous (ver. 32), these last can scarcely witness their removal from the world by God's providence without a feeling of relief.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wait on the Lord,.... In the way of his appointments and ordinances; where may be learned the design of his providences, and of the prosperity of the wicked, and their end, Psalm 73:16; and in a providential way, for the performance of his promises, in which he never fails; and patiently bear whatever he is pleased to lay upon them; waiting for a deliverance out of every affliction, which will be in his own time. The Chaldee paraphrase
"trust in the word of the Lord;''
and keep his way: which he has pointed out in his word, and has directed his people to walk in; though tempted by Satan to turn aside to the right hand or the left; though wicked men reproach, persecute, and seek to pervert it; and though a narrow and rough way, yet keep constantly in it, in which there are both pleasure and profit; good comes of it, and in it peace is had, and the presence of God enjoyed;
and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: that is, shall raise out of a low and uncomfortable situation of life to a more comfortable one; or however, hereafter, to dwell in the new heavens and new earth, to reign with Christ upon his throne, and to enjoy the eternal inheritance;
when the wicked are cut off; as in Psalm 37:9;
thou shall see it; with joy and pleasure; not as exulting: in the destruction of the wicked, simply considered; but as the glory of divine justice is displayed therein; see Psalm 52:5.
The Treasury of David
34 Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.
37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; he is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.
"Wait on the Lord." We have here the eighth precept, and it is a lofty eminence to attain to. Tarry the Lord's leisure. Wait in obedience as a servant, in hope as an heir, in expectation as a believer. This little word "wait" is easy to say, but hard to carry out, yet faith must do it. "And keep his way." Continue in the narrow path; let no haste for riches or ease cause unholy action. Let your motto be, "On, on, on," Never flag, or dream of turning aside. "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." "And he shall exalt thee to inherit the land." Thou shalt have all of earthly good which is really good, and of heavenly good there shall be no stint. Exaltation shall be the lot of the excellent. "When the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it." A sight how terrible and how instructive! What a rebuke for fretfulness! what an incentive to gratitude! My soul, be still, as thou foreseest the end, the awful end of the Lord's enemies.
A second time David turns to his diary, and this time in poetic imagery tells us of what he had observed. It were well if we too took notes of divine providences. "I have seen the wicked in great power." The man was terrible to others, ruling with much authority, and carrying things with a high hand, a Caesar in might, a Croesus in wealth. "And spreading himself like a green bay tree." Adding house to house and field to field, rising higher and higher in the state. He seemed to be ever verdant like a laurel, he grew as a tree in its own native soil, from which it had never been transplanted. No particular tree is here meant, a spreading beech or a wide expanding oak may serve us to realise the picture; it is a thing of earth, whose roots are in the clay; its honours are fading leaves; and though its shadow dwarfs the plants which are condemned to pine beneath it, yet it is itself a dying thing, as the feller's axe shall prove. In the noble tree, which claims to be king of the forest, behold the grandeur of the ungodly today; wait awhile and wonder at the change, as the timber is carried away, and the very root torn from the ground.
"Yet he passed away." Tree and man both gone, the son of man as surely as the child of the forest. What clean sweeps death makes! "And lo, he was not." To the surprise of all men the great man was gone, his estates sold, his business bankrupt, his house alienated, his name forgotten, and all in a few months! "Yea, I sought him, but he could not be found." Moved by curiosity, if we enquire for the ungodly, they have left no trace; like birds of ill omen none desire to remember them. Some of the humblest of the godly are immortalised, their names are imperishably fragrant in the church, while of the ablest of infidels and blasphemers hardly their names are remembered beyond a few years. Men who were in everybody's mouths but yesterday are forgotten tomorrow, for only virtue is immortal.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
34. On the contrary, the good are not only blessed, but made to see the ruin of their foes.
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