"Don’t let yourself get excited (חרה) because of evildoers. Be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. ...Be still before Yahweh and wait patiently for him. Don’t get excited (חרה) over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil schemes! Refrain from anger and forsake wrath! Don’t let yourself get excited (חרה). It tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for (קוה) Yahweh shall inherit the earth (אֶ֫רֶץ)." - Psalm 37:1-9
This is one of David's extraordinary psalms. It is structured in short couplets of two-four lines. The general thrust is that God's people must not lose their poise, even when it looks like the forces of evil are winning. As believers we are to have a grand perspective. We are to evaluate everything from God's point of view.
Three times David tells himself, "Don't get excited." This is the Hebrew word חרה (charah), which means to become hot, get angry, lose one's cool, get excited.
According to the psalm, the reason we are not to lose our cool is because God's got everything under control. He himself will deal with the wicked and their evil plans. They are like the grass that withers and fades. By contrast, he will establish the righteous in his coming kingdom. The humble shall inherit the earth, just as Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5).
Like David, we must constantly remind ourselves not to lose our cool. We are not to let society, the news, government, or any other human institution break our poise. We are citizens of another world, and God will take care of us. Our job is to wait for him patiently.
Father, please help us to maintain our poise, just as David and Jesus did. May we show ourselves as your people by our level-headedness during this time of upheaval. Thank you that we have an ancient book and an ancient faith. Christians have weathered many a storm in human history. Now its the turn of our generation. May we not fail. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman