34 Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed.
Psalm 37:34 (NLT)
Welcome to the 21st installment on my study of Psalm 37. The above verse contains 4 sentences, which can be easily broken into 4 parts. I shall look into them in detail.
The first part tells us to put our hope in the Lord. What is hope? It gives us the reason to wake up and face tomorrow. When we have hopes in our hearts, we have the desire and good expectation to face tomorrow. Hope gives us the reason to wake up every morning with joy in our hearts. Do you have hope? One way to test it out is to find out what was in your mind when you woke up this morning. What did you think of when you woke up? Did you think, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. I look forward for good things to happen today!” or did you think, “Oh no! Another day of misery.”
As for me, I have it a habit of telling myself in the mind every morning that good things are going to happen to me today. My prosperity is going to manifest this day. Thinking such thoughts gives me the enthusiasm to face a new day with hope. Even if I do not see good things happening to me in certain days, it does not matter. I will think positive thoughts again the next day.
Even if no good things happened to me today, I still have tomorrow. I will still be hopeful for tomorrow. If nothing good happens tomorrow, there will still be another tomorrow. There is no end to the amount of tomorrows. Tomorrow is the day I will receive my billions of dollars. Tomorrow is the day I will have the capacity to provide food to millions of starving people in the world. Tomorrow is the day I will bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every household in the world. Tomorrow is the day I will turn the Sahara Dessert into the wheat basket of the world. Even if the situation does not turn out the way I want it to be, I will still have hope because there is still tomorrow.
God wants us to put our hopes in him. Why? He is the safest place to secure our hopes. There are people who put their hopes in their career achievements, education qualifications, business connections or any of other talents. God is not against us having talents, qualification and achievements but he does not want us to put our hopes on them because they are not secure.
A few days ago, I read that hundreds of lecturers in a local university in Singapore lost their jobs because the university had decided not to renew their tenure. They were disappointed because they assumed that they could have their jobs for life as long as they continue to do things they used to do. For some reasons, their employer had decided not to renew their contract. Based on the mood I read from the interviews, it seemed to me that these lecturers were not confident in getting new jobs despite the good job market in Singapore.
Why is that so? They may have good education like Masters and PhDs but they placed their all hopes in their employer’s faithfulness in renewing their contract as long as they continue to do what they used to do. As a result, they had never bothered to prepare themselves for jobs outside the institution or to build other streams of income. As the world become more globalize, the university has to change or risks being left behind. They have to come up with new standards and drop employees that do not meet them. Ironically, the students that were taught by these ex-lecturers may have better career prospects than these ex-lecturers themselves.
What went wrong? It seems that these lecturers, despite their education achievements had placed their hopes at the wrong place. They thought the world is still the same as when they first start working. They were in for a rude shock.
This episode tells us that nothing in this world is reliable for us to put our hopes in. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that education is not important. What I am saying is, we should not put our hopes in it. Our hopes should be with God because he alone is reliable and not affected by the events of this world. Only when we put our hopes on him, we can have good future because he who is in us is greater than he who is in this world. No matter how the world changes, our God is more than able to guide us to prosper in everything we put our hands to do.
How do we put our hopes in God? The second part of Psalm 37:34 tells us to travel steadily along his path. God has a path for us and it is written in the Bible. This means we are to read the Bible and listen to faith messages to learn more about it. We are to travel steadily. To be steady is to be consistent. Why do we need to be reminded to be consistent? I don’t think anyone will feel surprise that life is not bed of roses every day. Sometimes, obeying God may not look rewarding. Sometimes, you can get more money if you sacrifice your integrity like breaking your promise, changing some numbers or pretend not to see certain things. However, we need to remind ourselves that our long-term prosperity will be adversely affected should we choose to go opposite God’s way.
I am facing similar situation myself. I have shared this in the previous article but I believe this is worth repeating. When I first interviewed for this job, my employer agreed to pay me my expected salary and I promised to stay with him until the end of this project. However, in less than one month, I realize that I can get significantly more money if I resign and apply for new jobs. It is quite tempting for me but I choose to follow God’s way because he is able to give me exceedingly and abundantly more than I can ever hope or dream of. I believe that God will honor my desire to stay in his path and he will prosper me even more than the amount I could have receive if I broke my promise.
The third part of Psalm 37:34 tells us what will happen if we travel steadily in God’s path. He will honor us by giving us the land. Land in those days symbolized continuous flow of prosperity. If you have money, you can use it up. However if you have land, especially a fertile land, you can repeatedly plant crops and reap the harvest. If you don’t want to do farming, you can always rent out the land to other farmers and collect rents. Whichever way you choose, you will have unending flow of prosperity into your life. This is the will of God for all of us, believers. He wants us to have unending flow of prosperity into our lives and the only way it can happen is for us to put out trust in him and travel steadily in his path.
The last part of Psalm 37:34 tells us what will happen to the wicked. You will see the wicked destroyed. God has promised us that the wicked people who have been making lives difficult for us will be destroyed. So, don’t waste time being resentful and in bitterness. God has made his promise and our job is just to believe. God wants us to focus in putting our trust in him and travel steadily in his path.