“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
There are some interesting concepts wrapped up in these two verses. Concepts which are very relevant to God’s people today.
The scene is set in the first two verses of the psalm where David also describes our world today with workers of iniquity seemingly setting the pace and thriving. That this was the case in his time is testimony to the enduring nature of the carnal mind. As Solomon would note, there is nothing new under the sun. What we face is not new, but it has an end-time intensity. This means we need the encouragement which verses 3 and 4 provide.
When we see suffering and hardship within God’s Church, and we do, we can easily begin to “fret” (to let negative emotions and passions well up within). We may tend to regard this response as a reaction to injustice, but it can have the effect (of which the Psalmist seemed to be intimately aware) of distracting our attention away from vital, continuing focus on God’s close personal presence. We are to remember that evil doers will have their day, but there is a day of reckoning. They will be cut off.
Doing good is more than a one-time response to a given situation. Trusting God is a mindset. It is a way of seeing everything about life, a way of walking and being. It is what we are. We must not just say that we trust God, we must live as though we DO trust Him.
We are instructed to dwell in the land. That does not mean that “the land” will be perfect and without problems. It means to live in the world – amongst the evildoers and workers of iniquity. But it also means to live with a believing reliance upon God. “The land” may be a reference to the land God gave Israel, or it may be the land upon which we find ourselves. Or it may, in type, be the Kingdom of God. Living in the land requires a reliance upon God, not a self-reliance or self-determination. It is a “seek first the Kingdom” frame of mind that translates into “feeding on His faithfulness.”
These few verses offer us a great deal of reassurance. A person who submits their life to God, will live in a land of evil and hostility. That is just the nature of a “land” orchestrated by the god of this world. We need to indeed sigh and cry for the abominations, but if we live focused on what is driving the environment, it can have a detrimental effect on our spiritual health. Fretting is seeing what is close to us – the reality of the evil environment and constantly reacting to it.
It is not that we are to be unaware. It is a matter of focus. We are to get our sight onto the reality of God working out His plan and purpose in the midst of all this. We live a good life because God’s presence and faithfulness has clarity. He is with us and will continue to be with us – even as evildoers appear at times to have the upper hand. Godly living leads to permanence. It takes vision to see that. However, that vision is supplied by God to His people as they “trust in the Lord and do good.”