“Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is posterity for the peaceable. But the transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.”
Many of the Psalms trouble me because they assure us that God will destroy the wicked and the righteous shall triumph over evildoers. This passage in Psalm 37 is one illustration of the Psalmist’s faith that goodness will always win out over wickedness. Given the world that I see around me, I cannot believe that this is happening. There is so much warfare, poverty, vindictiveness and cruelty throughout the world, and it doesn’t show any sign of abating, despite the efforts of many righteous people. The passage above assures us that the children of the wicked shall also be cut off and destroyed. If that were true, I would be very concerned because I do not believe it is right for the next generation to be punished for their predecessor’s evil deeds. Thus, I think the Psalms promise goodness to the righteous, which is not in accord with the world as it is.
On a more positive note, I think that that the Psalmists have faith in their writings and believe that at some future time their predictions will come true. And, of course, I see many examples of goodness overcoming evil. The work of many, Christians and others, is encouraging, as there is much being done to help the poor and the homeless, to bring hope and sustenance to the people of struggling nations, and to show love and support for those in need. There is indeed a great deal of caring in the world we live in. My hope is that the faith of the Psalmists will ultimately triumph, but it might take many more generations for it to happen.
God, let us be realistic about the promises we read in the Psalms and not expect evil to disappear quickly. Help us to have faith that by working always for goodness and mercy, we are bringing this world closer to the world you want us to be. Amen.