His Encouragement #206

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.

I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree. But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found.

Psalm 37:35-36 (ESV)

As I did last week, this week I want to begin by sharing how Jewish Rabbis have interpreted these two verses from the Hebrew into English. Once again, I turn to Chabad.org for my translation:

I saw a wicked man, powerful, well-rooted as a native who is fresh.
And he passed away and behold! he is not here, and I sought him and he was not found.
Psalm 37:35-36

In both the ESV and the Jewish translation, King David saw (experienced perhaps?) a wicked man. I wonder who this wicked man is that David is referring to. Could it be King Saul? Could it be Goliath? Could it be Doeg the Edomite? Could it be Nabal of Carmel? I mean, there are so many possibilities in David’s life — he really was surrounded by enemies. Regardless, David is referring to only ONE particular person.

The ESV tells us this man was wicked and ruthless, where the Jewish translation tells us this man was wicked and powerful. Both translations illustrate this man’s ability to spread his influence deeply. The Jewish translation tells us that this wicked man was well-rooted (like a tree) and the ESV tells us this man was like a laurel tree. A laurel tree is a hardy tree. It grows deep roots, it is difficult to kill, and it is part of the evergreen family. Evergreen…always green, seemingly always alive. The laurel tree, like this wicked man David is referring to, seems indestructible. So, this wicked man appeared to David as always healthy, happy, rich, and whole no matter the day or time of year.

BUT as David continues in the Psalm 37, this man passed away. He died. He was not indestructible. He did not live forever even though his roots were deep. This man’s wealth, homes, property, health, influence, evil could NOT save him from growing old and taking his final breath on this earth.

This man’s influence, his reach, was so deep that his death seemed perhaps shocking to David. In verse 36, David tells us that he went out searching for this wicked, powerful, ruthless person, but could not find him. In other words, this man’s reach in David’s life was so deep, and the wickedness affected him so much (which makes me think David was referring to Saul), that when this man died David had a difficult time believing it.

So what is the point? What is David getting at?

It’s the same idea David has been trying to get people to understand throughout this entire psalm. Yes, evil abounds on this earth. It appears to be everywhere. It appears to be the most powerful. It appears to have no end. BUT that is just not true. Evil dies. Wickedness reaches an end point. The powerful with their deep roots do come to an end.

It’s a call to pay attention to where we are placing our focus. Are we stuck freaking out over the current news on FOX, CNN, MSNBC, or YouTube? Are we fearing our futures? Are will filled with anxiety, doubt, and/or worry? Do we see all the evil happening today and get caught up in anger and hatred? OR are we tuning into God and His Truth? Are we focusing on Jesus and His soon second coming? Are we in our Bibles studying? Are we daily praying and praising God?

Yes, the world is super stinky right now. It’s pretty darn scary. BUT where is your focus? If it’s on God, then you have nothing to fear. If God is for us, WHO (or WHAT) could be against us (Romans 8:31)? But if it’s not, I implore you this day to turn off the worldly news and spend some serious time with Jesus. He will fill you with His peace and get you back on the right path.



4 thoughts on “His Encouragement #206

  1. Love this. The scriptures I’m enjoying are the ones telling of the birth of Jesus.
    As I read your post, I had to smile when you wrote the wicked has an end. When we think about that, we should always remember that Good has no beginning. He has always been and always will be. Blessed be the name of the Lord! Great post, Nicole!

    Liked by 1 person

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