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Psalm 37, Don’t Worry, Be Happy, Or Else!

After re-reading one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 37, I decided to look a little deeper at the meaning of the word “fret”, and was quite surprised by what I found.  This word appears three times in the first eight verses of the psalm:

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.  Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.  And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.  Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.  Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

“Fret” comes from the Hebrew word “Charah” which is translated “kindled” 44 time, “wroth” 13 times, “hot” 10 times, “angry” 9 times, “displease” 4 times, and “fret” 4 times  (from Blue Letter Bible Lexicon).  I notice that fret is a less used translation, and that all the translations are highly charged words.

We could easily translate verse 1 as Be not wroth, be not angry, or even,  be not kindled against evil doers.  But what does that mean, “be not kindled”?

For a clue, I looked up the word fret in Webster’s and found not just the common definition of “worry” but a lot more.  In addition to worry, fret also means to “eat or gnaw into”, also, corrode, fray, rub, or chafe.

So now we begin to see, fret or worry is not just something that we do, but when we do it, it does something back to us.  As a result of worry, our being is eaten or gnawed, or corroded away.

God tells us not to worry about evil doers, not only because we can’t do anything about them anyway, we will not prevent others from their evil ways, but more importantly, as we allow ourselves to be caught up in worry, we are doing actual damage to ourselves.

As we trust in The Lord and lean on Him, His promise is that we will dwell in the land, we will be fed, He will give us the desires of our heart, and many more promises throughout the psalm.  If you are not familiar with Psalm 37, I urge you to read it through.  It is a truly beautiful psalm.


July 14, 2012 - Posted by | Faith, God's Grace, Godliness | , , ,


  1. God knows what we are passing through

    Comment by joseph | September 7, 2013 | Reply

    • Yes, that He does. And that is why these words are such a blessing to me. He knows my trials and my tendency to look at my trials rather than at Him, and He tells me, don’t fret. I’ve got this.

      Comment by johnconstitution | September 7, 2013 | Reply

  2. Hi John,

    I pray all is well. God bless ya.


    Comment by Minister Aiken | September 5, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Debra! All is well, but work is incredibly busy these days. Don’t know where I’d be if not for my Lord! He is the only thing that helps everything else make sense, and keeps me from making a total mess of things!

      Thanks for checking in, and God bless!

      Comment by johnconstitution | September 6, 2012 | Reply

      • Hey John,

        Happy to hear that the Lord is keeping you busy. The bible declares that our gift will make room for us.

        God bless and I love ya my brother.


        Comment by Minister Aiken | September 6, 2012 | Reply

  3. […] Psalm 37, Don’t Worry, Be Happy, Or Else! (mylordisjesus.wordpress.com) […]

    Pingback by Manic Monday – Practicing Patience « The Salvation Times | July 30, 2012 | Reply

  4. […] Psalm 37, Don’t Worry, Be Happy, Or Else! (mylordisjesus.wordpress.com) […]

    Pingback by Leave It All In God’s Hands « bummyla | July 18, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi, thanks for linking to my blog article, and God bless!


      Comment by johnconstitution | July 18, 2012 | Reply

  5. Thanks for the reminder that fretting is something we do to ourselves. As I read your post I was struck by how God in His mercy prescribes a remedy for this thing that “gnaws into” us: Trust in the Lord, delight in the Lord, commit thy way unto the Lord, and rest in the Lord. (v. 3-5, 7)

    Good word John!

    May the Lord use this post to spare His people from fretting.

    Comment by kurt bennett | July 17, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Kurt, and thank you for highlighting the things we can do to avoid fretting over things.

      And I agree, let us hope that those who read will find peace by doing what God says (Trust, delight, commit, and rest) in His wonderful Word.

      God bless,

      Comment by johnconstitution | July 17, 2012 | Reply

  6. Thank you John for that, I really needed to hear that this morning! As someone that does sometimes fret over both small things and big things, I just need to learn to surrender it to our Lord. It’s so much easier said than done 😦

    Comment by Peter Guirguis (@petenaotg) | July 17, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Peter,

      You are so right about that! I’ve never thought about it this way, but isn’t it safe to say that most, if not all of the problems we create for ourselves are not due to that one thing, our difficulty in surrendering fully to our Lord?

      I know that I live in this sinful flesh that I will one day be free of, but still, I wonder why is surrender so difficult? And then, as soon as I ask it, I remember, Adam and Eve’s sin and know the answer, PRIDE!

      It is a hard road that we walk, but we don’t walk it alone, but the Lord is with us always. And the devil couln’t give me enough to make me want to change!

      God bless you, and God bless us always,

      Comment by johnconstitution | July 17, 2012 | Reply

  7. this gave me a new perspective as I read it again…Thanks for the Word

    Comment by Pastor Mike | July 17, 2012 | Reply

    • Thank you Pastor Mike, it is a blessing to me that the Lord has bless you in reading this post. May He bless you always!


      Comment by johnconstitution | July 17, 2012 | Reply

  8. I nominated you for the Ten Commandments Award. Please visit http://byhisgrace211.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/ten-commandments-award/ for details. God bless you! ~~~Michele

    Comment by byhisgrace211 | July 15, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Michele, it’s good to hear from you! I hope that all is going well with your job and that God is blessing you richly.

      I really appreciate you thinking about me and for nominating me to this award. You are such a warm blessing. I really appreciate it.

      Comment by johnconstitution | July 16, 2012 | Reply

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