Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday! I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my struggle day of the week. By Thursday, I have already been working hard at school and at home, and I just wish it would hurry up and be Friday already. LOL! I definitely need a little extra Jesus time on Thursdays.
The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives; for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land, but those cursed by Him shall be cut off.Psalm 37:21-22 (ESV)
“Houston, we have a problem!”
To be specific, we have a translation issue, and it’s a doozy!
In the ESV, verse 21 illustrates a dichotomy: the wicked versus the righteous. When I read verse 21 I saw this right away. This verse is about wicked vs. good people. Wicked people borrow and never give back, but righteous, good people are generous and give. Immediately, I thought about people who maybe don’t have a lot to their names but who see poor and hungry humans on the street as they are driving to work, who pull over and stop to generously give of their meager breakfast or lunch without thought to themselves. I then also imagined an evil villain who audaciously walks up to those same hungry and poor and rips the food from their hands and runs away. Silly, I know, but this is the story my brain created after reading verse 21.
So, this verse is pretty cut and dry, right? On this earth there are two types of people — those who give and those who take.
But then I did some research. I turned to my trusty resource, Chabad.org, to read the Jewish translation and Rashi’s commentary and discovered that — surprise, surprise — the English translation of this verse is WRONG.
Here’s how this verse should be translated according to those who know actual Hebrew: “A wicked man borrows and does not pay, but the Righteous One is gracious and gives.” WHOA! Wait…verse 21 is definitely illustrating a dichotomy, but it’s not humans vs. humans. It’s the wicked vs. God. That changes everything.
When translated correctly, verse 21 is telling us that God sees and knows EVERYTHING. He knows who the wicked are, He knows their hearts, and He knows how they hurt His kids. This verse illustrates God’s Abba-ness, how He is our Father who deflects the mean-spirited actions of the wicked when they come against us. This verse is saying that God sees when the wicked steal and in His graciousness and mercy, God gives back to His kids what the wicked have stolen from them. Isn’t that awesome?!
Verse 22 reiterates this notion that God, in His gracious love, blesses His kids when the wicked come and steal things away, but He takes it to the next level. Instead of one kid being saved, verse 22 refers to many kids — a nation. The land, Israel, was stolen by the wicked, but it was also retuned. I love that I am alive today to see this prophecy fulfilled. Yes, Israel is not perfect, and Jesus does need to come back to put everything to rights, but I think it’s cool that Israel exists today as a nation. I think it’s cool that I am alive in a prophetic time. To me, this is a blessing and it reinforces just how True and Right God’s Word is.
God is a good Father. He is gracious and fair and loving and all-knowing and all love. He is also very protective. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but seeing God as a Dad who SEES and then ACTS makes me love Him even more. This little segment of Psalm 37 has really opened my eyes to just how awesome God truly is. I hope today’s breakdown has blessed you as much as it has me.