“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You” (Ps. 56:3)
This is the second part in a study on how the first few verses of Psalm 37 give us a five-part prescription for combatting the envy and anxiety that come from comparing ourselves to other people or asking, “why do good things happen to bad people?” For ease of reading we’ve split this long study into individual parts, so I recommend starting with the intro to Psalm 37 (which lays the groundwork), then reading this and the subsequent sections (linked at the end).
What does Ps. 37:3 mean?
After David tells us not to get worked up when we see bad people get what we feel we deserve, his first instruction is to “trust in the Lord and do good” (Ps. 37:3).
What does it mean to trust God?
The word used here for “trust” means to be confident, secure, or “to hie for refuge” (which makes me laugh).
Ye Olde English aside, that last bit really helps flesh out something we can take away from this…like in Psalm 91 where it speaks of God as “my refuge and fortress”. He should be what I look to for protection, and who I run to in times of trouble (like peasants running toward the castle walls when the barbarians attacked).
In other words, with my trust placed in God, I am certain of my protection and deliverance. The word is used many times in the Old Testament, including dozens in the Psalms alone. And so I have to ask myself, what makes me feel safe and secure? How certain do you feel about things in your life right now?
Where is your center of gravity, the thing your world revolves around? Is it in your 401k, or your ability to defend yourself (Ps. 49:6, 44:6)? Is it in your own judgment, your career, the government, or even your family and friends (Prov. 28:26, Ps. 146:3, Ps. 41:9)?
What is your confidence in? What is the one thing that, if it became shaky, would rock the foundations of your world? If you don’t know the answer to that, it might be wise to take some time to reflect on it *before* you’re in a situation where you find out in real time and regret the answer.
“And do good”: The need for action
But we shouldn’t forget the rest of the phrase in Ps. 37:3. We’re told to trust in the Lord and do good. As with many of God’s commands, this isn’t only a mind exercise, but rather mind AND body. Heart and action.