The wicked plot against the righteous

    and gnash their teeth at them;

13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,

    for he knows their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword

    and bend the bow

to bring down the poor and needy,

    to slay those whose ways are upright.

15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,

    and their bows will be broken.

As I read this, I have a mental picture of a bear, about to pounce on much smaller and weaker prey. But just a little way behind the bear, there are hunters with rifles, and they are going to bring him down. He is blissfully unaware of the fact.

Repeatedly, Psalm 37 encourages us to take the long view. Again and again it points to the ultimate overthrow of the wicked. Two thoughts stand out in today’s reading:

  1. Although watching the news may cause us to weep, God can ‘laugh’ (see Psalm 2:4). He does not find comedy in the bad things perpetrated on earth, but with regard to the perpetrators “he knows their day is coming” (13);
  2. Evil has a way of rebounding on those who carry it out (15). This is another related message the Bible repeats at different times and in a variety of ways. The ‘bombs’ they carry, we may say, blow up in their own faces.

‘The picture of verses 13-15 is of a defeat which the Lord sees…coming, rather than has to intervene to send. The history of the church , from Stephen and Saul to the present day, is full of such reversals.’ (Derek Kidner).