The Righteous Forsaken?
(23) By Yahweh are the steps of a man established when he delights in his way. (24) Though he fall, he will not be hurled down, for Yahweh holds his hand. (25) I have been young and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor his children begging for bread. (26) All day long he is gracious and lends, and his children are a blessing. (27) Turn aside from evil and do good and dwell forevermore, (28) for Yahweh loves justice and will not forsake his godly ones. They will be kept safe forever, but the children of the wicked will be cut off. (29) The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell in it forever.
One word, translated “children” or “offspring,” is found three times, twice referring to the children of the righteous (vss. 25 & 26), and once referring to the children of the wicked (vs. 28). A second repeated word, “righteous,” occurs twice (vs. 25 & 29).
This segment specifies three areas of blessing for the righteous who trust in Yahweh as opposed to the wicked who do not. First, Yahweh promises to establish their steps, also called their “way” (vs. 23). Yahweh also pledges to bless them materially so that they will never have to beg but always be in a position to lend to others (vss. 25 & 26). Finally, Yahweh guarantees that they will dwell permanently in the land that he has promised to give to them (vs. 29).
Three great blessings for the righteous and their offspring:
- Their steps will be established. (23 & 24)
- They will never have to beg but can be generous. (25 & 26)
- They will dwell permanently in the land. (27-29)
Those who trust in Yahweh can count on his protection, his provision, and a permanent dwelling place in the land.
APPLICATION (a personal testimony)
In addition to my father, my grandfather served as my most important role model during my teenage years. Throughout his life he served as a missionary and pastor. More than that, my grandparents successfully raised ten children during the financially lean years of the Great Depression and managed to ensure that each of them received a college education.
My own father died when I was fourteen. At that point, my grandparents in their late seventies left their home and moved in with my mother and me for several months to help ease our grief and, in the case of my grandfather, to provide me with the fatherly guidance I had just lost. He modeled for me a daily devotional life. In particular he showed me the value of studying and praying the psalms. His practice was to read five psalms and one chapter from the Proverbs every day. In that way, he read through those books every month. Having done this for years, he knew the Psalms and Proverbs as well as anyone I have ever known.
One of his favorite verses was Psalm 37:25. I heard him quote this verse from the King James Version often enough to fix it permanently in my memory. I can still hear his voice intoning, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” After quoting this verse, he would fix his eyes on me and say: “That verse has proved true for your grandmother and me through all these years of ministry and in raising ten children in hard times. God keeps his word. Do not ever forget it!”
Like my grandfather, I have seen God provide for our family’s every need during forty years of ministry and in raising three children, certainly not as difficult a period as the Great Depression, but during some very stressful moments. God’s promises have proved true for our family just as they did for my grandparents. More than ever I am convinced that Yahweh is faithful and able to provide for the needs of all who trust in him as well.