At the beginning of the last chapter I pointed out that Psalm 37 is a good exposition of the third of Jesus’ eight beatitudes, from the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5). Jesus does not explain the meaning of meekness in that sermon, but Psalm 37 does.

The second section of this psalm (vv. 12-20) describes the way of the wicked, much like Psalms 1, 36 and others do. In fact, from here to the end of the psalm nearly every verse mentions either the wicked or the righteous or both. Later, in section three, there are a series of contrasts between the righteous and the wicked. In this section there are also contrasts, but they concern the wicked more directly. Here are four of them.

Before we go further in this study I want to introduce an example of what it means to be meek. I do this because we usually think of meekness as weakness, and that is not the idea at all. The example I have in mind is from the life of Moses, and I refer to it because of a verse in the story that says that Moses was an illustriously meek man. The New International Version uses the word "humble." The King James Version says "meek." But both express the same idea. The verse says, "Moses was a very humble [or meek] man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3).

"Commit your way to the LORD" (v. 5). The command to "commit” our ways to God is not a redundancy, something that has already been covered in what it means to trust God (content, assent and commitment), but actually carries us further in showing what it means to live with God whom we trust and in whom we delight. The word actually means "to roll one's way onto God,” the figure being, as H. C. Leupold says, to "dislodge the burden from your shoulders and lay it on God."3 This is what the Apostle Peter was thinking about in 1 Peter 5:7—in fact, he was probably referring to Psalm 37:5 explicitly—when he wrote, "Cast all your anxiety upon him because he cares for you." He meant that we do not need to worry about things, because God cares for us, is equal to all circumstances and will manage anything that can possibly come into our lives.

The first eleven verses are the most direct exposition of the third beatitude, which is where they end. They describe the quiet spirit of one who trusts in God and does not fret because of evil men.