Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. — Ps. 37:3 NASB
Psalm 37 is one of my favorite passages of scripture. To loosely paraphrase and summarize, it basically says that the world is a seemingly unfair and unjust place where bad people seem to prosper at the expense of good people, but it’s not our job to worry about that. God is fully aware, and He’s in control. Nobody’s going to get away with anything, and those who are dealt with unjustly will be vindicated in due time. That’s His job.
Our job is outlined in the verse above: Trust the Lord. Do good within our own communities and spheres of influence. Dwell patiently where we’re planted and…?
The third verse of this psalm is an interesting one. Not just because of its instructiveness but because that last instruction appears to vary depending on which translation you’re reading. Take a minute and just look at all the different ways this last clause is translated. Apparently, the original Hebrew verb literally means either “feed on truth” or “be fed in truth,” and Bible translators aren’t sure exactly what that means. So we get translations like the one at the top of this post that tell us to “cultivate faithfulness,” and others, like the International Standard Version, that say to “feed on faithfulness.” Still others, like the NIV, say to “enjoy safe pasture” or something along those lines.
So which is it?
I’m no Bible scholar, but I think that they’re each right in a way. I think it’s a cycle. God is faithful. We trust in this aspect of His character and this builds our faith and enables us to be faithful and obedient. And when we’re faithful to meet the conditions of His promises, He’s faithful to keep His promises, which further builds our faith and helps us to grow in faithfulness, and so on. And throughout this cyclical process, as our faith is strengthened so is our sense of security and our belief that God is fully in control and we don’t need to worry. We can relax. And the more we’re focused on faithfully serving God and His agenda, the less worried we’ll be about what people in the world are doing or what they’re thinking or saying about us.
It’s like a never-ending loop of faithfulness. God’s faithfulness builds my faith and confidence in Him, which increases my faithfulness, which in turn increases my trust and obedience, which increases God’s faithfulness in my life, and so on. And knowing that faithfulness is part of God’s character, if the loop breaks down I know it’s because of some failure on my part–I’ve failed to be faithful in some area–and not on His. I can pray and ask Him to show me which areas of my life are lacking in faithfulness and focus on improving in those areas.
Next week I’ll share some specific examples of how I’m working to cultivate faithfulness in my own life, but in general, how can I be sure I’m being faithful?
I can do my best to be obedient to His word. To keep His commandments and live an overall life of faith, trust and obedience, staying surrendered to His will for my life. I can keep showing up to carry out the assignments He’s given me, even when I don’t feel like it, even when they seem pointless, trusting Him not only to give me the ability and strength but also entrusting Him with the outcomes.
And if I’m doing all of that, I can rest in the knowledge that He’ll take care of me, and everything will work out according to His plan.
God is faithful. Just this morning my husband and I received some good news that was an answer to a lot of prayer, reminding me yet again that He’s got this, and He’s got us, and we don’t need to worry or fret.
What are some examples of God’s faithfulness in your life, friend? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. And in case you missed it, click here to read last week’s introductory post examining what faithfulness is and why it matters!
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