One of the unusual behavior patterns most Christians have is that they give thanks before meals. We do it in our homes, and when we are eating out in public too. In fact, we are often encouraged when we notice other people or families bowing their heads before plunging in to eat their dinner, and we immediately assume, no doubt with real justification, that these people are Christians.

Part five of Psalm 37 encourages us to take the long view (vv. 34-40). This is not a new theme in the psalm. We have seen it earlier, but it seems to dominate this last section. The ground for this teaching is that in the long run the righteous will be exalted and protected, and the wicked will be brought down. Therefore, the psalmist commands us to "wait for the LORD and keep his way" (v. 34).

At the end of these two sections, which contain seven contrasts, most between the righteous and the wicked (vv. 12-26), David appends an old man's testimony to the truth of what he has said (vv. 25, 26). He tells us that he has never seen these truths contradicted: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (v. 25).

The righteous will inherit the land, but the wicked will be cut off (v. 22). This second contrast is meant to be taken of the land of Israel literally, since inheritance of the land is one of the great Old Testament promises. It is not the same for us, since there are no promises that New Testament believers are to possess or inherit portions of the Promised (or any other) Land. Yet, there is the third beatitude: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5). That is a New Testament promise, spoken to Christians. What does it mean?

Yesterday we said that in the second part of this psalm there are four contrasts concerning the wicked, the Lord, and, for the last two, the righteous. In this third section the psalmist continues with three more contrasts, dealing directly with the wicked and the righteous.