To say that God does not have a sense of humor would be an injustice against The Almighty. I was reading through the book of Psalms and found myself burning through the 37th at a torrent pace—basically begging God to have a little fun with me! Needless to say, as I was reading over verse 8 I found my mind saying, “Hey wait, go back quick. You just missed something.”
Psalm 37:8 says: Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. Now I understand the first part of the verse – I mean, that’s day one of Sunday school right there. But how in the world does fretting lead to evil? At first glance, this made absolutely no sense to me. The rest of this poem of David continues to make use of the word “fretting,” so clearly there is an underlying theme here.
The life of King David certainly was not perfect by any means (just think of his well-documented affair with Bathsheba). Yet for all his flaws, the Bible describes him as a “man after God’s own heart”. At a young age, David was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king of Israel. However, it took years for this prophecy to reach fulfillment as King Saul relentlessly pursued the young man from Bethlehem and his loyal band of followers through the wilderness.
Reading 1 Samuel 24 almost perfectly coincides with what David discusses in Psalm 37. In this scene, David has the opportunity to sneak up and take the life of God’s appointed ruler as Saul relieves himself in a cave. Surely David had a multitude of thoughts running through his mind, as his men even encouraged him to kill the king (see verse 4). To think that David had never fretted about when his moment of opportunity would come to rightfully ascend to the throne of Israel would probably be foolish on our parts, given our experiences with the nature of sin. Even still, David merely cut off a corner of Saul’s robe, thereby sparing the king’s life. Had his worry manifested itself, the young heir would have committed murder against God’s chosen ruler—a clear act of evil.
Now the correlation between fretting and evil begins to manifest itself. When we let worry take over, we go against the very timing of The Lord. Matthew 6:25-34, part of the famous “Sermon on the Mount”, sees Jesus reiterating the words of David in the Psalms. God clearly takes our worrying seriously – enough to where He had His Son harp on the subject in arguably Christ’s most famous sermon of all time.
Now how does this apply to our lives? I really don’t think I am going to wake up and find myself in the shoes of Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries movies anytime soon (not that I have ever sat down and watched any of those movies or anything). I also doubt that my continual fretting over whether or not my last name will be pronounced correctly on the next podcast put out by my esteemed colleague, Alex Boggs, will actually have any real effect over the outcome of said pronunciation. But joking aside, the lesson here is that God takes our worrying seriously because it has sinful and downright evil implications. When we allow ourselves to “fret,” we question God’s perfect timing in our lives. In our attempt to fix the problem, it becomes all too easy to act out in ways that are opposed to what He has revealed in His Word. We must remember that God is bigger than our problems. He is bigger than our worries. And He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him.
When we let worry take over, we go against the very timing of The Lord.