“You have been a shelter…I will abide in Your tabernacle forever” (Ps. 61:3-4)
This is the third 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 other sections (linked at the end).
Putting down roots in the land God provides
Let’s pick up where we left off in part 2, with the second half of Ps. 37:3:
“Trust in the Lord, and do good…Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness”
The second part of verse 3 tells us that if we put our trust in God, He will provide for us both physically and spiritually. Shelter and food are two of the most fundamental needs of human life.
We’re told to “dwell” in the land He provides. This word means to settle, permanently live, abide, inhabit, or rest. Basically, to live and put down roots. What is the land God has given us? It’s being in relationship with Him, extended an offer of grace and forgiveness from our sins.
On the night before He was crucified, Jesus spent a long time talking with His disciples. One of the teachings He gave was that He was the true vine and God the vinedresser, and that we were branches connected to the vine that needed to bear fruit. He told His disciples:
“Abide [dwell, live] in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you” (John 15:2-6).
Can you truthfully say you abide in, or live with, God and Jesus Christ? I don’t mean in some weird mystical way. One way to think about this is being fully present, spending time with. If you go back to that branch and vine metaphor earlier, the branches literally cannot survive without the vine’s nourishment. If they get disconnected, they perish.
When we dwell in the land God has given us, we consider God and His way of life our home, and we’re not always looking around at society to see if the grass is greener. The Israelites always displayed this attitude…*kiiiiind of* dwelling with God in the land He’d provided, but always casting an eye around at their pagan neighbors to see what they were missing out on.
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Taking a “cultivate faithfulness” mentality
The next part of the verse tells us to “feed on His faithfulness”. While I love the NKJV translation of “feed on His faithfulness”, the Berean Study Bible’s translation also adds some nuance. It says, “Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness”.
This is interesting because it positions us not only as consumers of what God provides, but also as being accountable for actively planting, tending, and producing ourselves (with His help, of course).