There are things that we cannot change.
One day a mother was passing by her son’s room and overheard her son mutter, “Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo” as if he were praying. Out of curiosity, the mother asked her son, “Son, what are you doing? Why do I hear you say, “Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo.”
The little child said to his mom with embarrassment, “Oh, I had a geography exam today at school. There was a question, “What is the capital city of France?” I wasn’t sure but I wrote, “Tokyo” and I am praying to God, “Please make Tokyo the capital city of France.”
There are things that we can expect: In the morning, we wait for the evening and in the spring we wait for summer. Things will happen. That is why the psalmist encourages us to have patience and hope:
“Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers, for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday.”
Once we know how God works, we can stay calm: “Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
over those who carry out evil devices. Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.”
Then the psalmist repeats its advice in a different way as if this is the second verse of the same song:
“Do not fret—it leads only to evil. For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity. The wicked plot against the righteous, and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that their day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to kill those who walk uprightly; their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. Better is a little that the righteous person has than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will abide forever; they are not put to shame in evil times, in the days of famine they have abundance. But the wicked perish, and the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away. The wicked borrow, and do not pay back, but the righteous are generous and keep giving; for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. Our steps are made firm by the Lord, when he delights in our way; though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds us by the hand.”
The psalmist teaches this one principle from his life experience. It is not just an abstract principle. It has been tested and proven in the life situations. Now he can proclaim this faith principle with confidence: “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are ever giving liberally and lending, and their children become a blessing. Depart from evil, and do good; so you shall abide forever. For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his faithful ones. The righteous shall be kept safe forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and live in it forever. The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak justice. The law of their God is in their hearts; their steps do not slip. The wicked watch for the righteous, and seek to kill them. The Lord will not abandon them to their power, or let them be condemned when they are brought to trial. Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on the destruction of the wicked. I have seen the wicked oppressing, and towering like a cedar of Lebanon. Again I passed by, and they were no more; though I sought them, they could not be found. Mark the blameless, and behold the upright, for there is posterity for the peaceable. But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off. The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their refuge in the time of trouble. The Lord helps them and rescues them; he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in him.”
When we are getting older, we have many words to say. That is why this psalm is long. We just want to make sure that our message is delivered: Keep the faith!