What does Psalm 37:3 mean?

(Abby Narvaez) #1

Psalm 37:3 Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.

Please explain this verse.
Do good? Dwell in the land? (What land) Feed on His faithfulness? Be fed? (Fed what)
Does land refer to heaven? The Hebrew word means earth.

(Andrew Bulin) #2

This Psalm is a homily, in a set of observations that may not necessarily be related. The overarching theme is not to become concerned at the propperity of the wicked and that YHWH will fulfill His promises of prosperity to the faithful (Deut. 28). [1]

The is a a part of the “Deuteronomistic Theology” of the early Israelites. God promised them the inheritance of the Promised Land for obedience. It was a part of the covenant pact made with Abraham (Gen. 12). Remember that God chose one peoples’ history to begin showing His interaction with all of humanity. Some of the promises made to the Israelites were specific to them for their time. For Christians today, this is a reminder of God’s faithfulness to those who are obedient.

[1] John Goldingay, Psalms: 1-41 in Baker Comentary on the Old Testament: Wisdom and Psalms, vol. 1, ed. Tremper Longman III (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006) 517-520.

(Abby Narvaez) #3

Thank you. This is very interesting. One person told me this refers to heaven here on earth (“Thy kingdom come… on earth as it is in heaven”) Lord’s prayer. What are your thoughts on that?

(Andrew Bulin) #4

We can always expect God’s promises and His will to be fulfilled. His kingdom will come, on earth as it is in heaven… but the psalter here is reflecting on the ancient Promised Land as it specifically related to the covenant with the Israelites.

Universally though, we can “take delight” (v. 4) in YHWH now, not only after expriencing His blessing. We know that He will be faithful to fulfill His promises, but the bigger picture is that He will care for those who belong to Him. This is to offset any negative feeling that others that seem to get away with evil and are doing well. But it does not necessitate the possession of land or other material wealth by you or I. We can still rest assured that God will care for all our needs (Mat. 6:26).