The Cause And Cure Of Fretting
The true message of this Psalm is to warn us against the temptation to fret at the success of the ungodly. The wicked are pictured as spreading themselves as a green bay tree, exhibiting great power, and lording it over the less fortunate. The righteous man is perplexed thereby, and is in danger of fretting and of becoming envious at their prosperity. The reading of the entire Psalm, will give the assurance that the Lord knows the days of the upright and is pledged to deliver them from the wicked.
The Cause Of Fretting:
The basic cause of this vexation is the observing of the prosperity of the wicked.
The sharp and definite command, “Fret not thyself,” is a fitting, introduction to the whole Psalm, for the wicked seem to prosper, and thereby the righteous are perplexed; nevertheless, God is seen as governing, and that in the interest of His people. Those who trust in Him, delight in Him, commit their way unto Him, and rest in Him, are always vindicated. To simplify its meaning, I and delivered. As the righteous man views the wicked prospering as a green bay tree, living in luxury and oppressing the less fortunate, he seems to forget that the triumphing of the wicked is short, (Job 20:5) and their success is transitory; consequently, he is in danger of fretting.
In looking up the word, fret, in the original, the following definitions are given; To boil up, to be angry, to blaze up with anger waxed hot, to be violently agi- would say, “Do not get into a perilous heat about things.” It has been said that fret, is closely akin to the idea of friction, and is indicative of the absence of the oil of love and grace. Fretting is heat in the wrong place. One time when travelling by train, we were held up for two hours; upon enquiring the reason for the delay, I was informed that a hot box had developed on one of the cars. The heat was in the wrong place, and the progress of the train was held up. The axle became heated because of unnecessary friction; dry surfaces grinding together can only be kept smooth by a cushion of oil. Fretting is heat in the wrong place, and results from little bits of grit getting into our bearings; as for example, some irritation, some unnecessary insult.
The Consequence Of Fretting:
Friction causes heat, and with heat the most dangerous conditions are produced. “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” It would appear from this exhortation that fretting leads to anger, and according to Ephesians 4:26, to be angry is giving place to the devil. The result of fretting therefore will be disastrous to the peace of the believer. According to the first verse of this Psalm, fretting leads to envy, and this is listed in Galatians 5:21, under the works of the flesh. Envy and jealousy are often yoke-fellows, and a poor team they are! They so frequently hinder Christian fellowship and service. The end result of anger, is envy, which leads to evil doing. How important then that we heed the exhortation, “Fret not thyself.”
The Cure For Fretting:
In this precious poem several different attitudes toward the Lord are prescribed as divine balm to be applied to the fretting soul. Let us look at these:
(a). “Trust in the Lord.” (vs.3.) The meaning of the word, “trust,” is to be confident. Confidence in the God who hath promised, and who is able also to perform, will banish care. In some places in the Old Testament the word is rendered, “Be careless.” The thought is illustrated by the carelessness of the child, who, because of its confidence in the love and ability of its father to provide, ignores anxiety. In spite of the apparent prosperity of the wicked, we do well to trust in our Heavenly Father who knows, and loves, and cares. This will cure the tendency to fret.
(b). “Delight thyself also in the Lord.” (vs. 4.) The meaning of this word “delight” would suggest, the satisfaction with the abundance of the blessings that are ours in Christ. If we are finding joy and satisfaction in Christ, and realize that we are enriched with His unsearchable wealth, the fleeting prosperity of the wicked will not affect us.
(c). “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass.” (vs. 5.) It is delightful to know, the original meaning of the word, “commit,” is roll. This clause could, therefore, read, “Roll thy way upon the Lord.” This means, that in all our ways right to the end of life’s journey, He is able to undertake if we simply rely upon Him. His way is always best no matter what it may be, even although at times it may seem rough. He will never leave us nor forsake us. It is better to walk in the dark with Christ, than to walk alone in the light without Him.
(d). “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” (vs. 7.) If we are really trusting in he Lord, delighting in Him, and committing our way unto the Lord, then there is nothing to do but to rest and to wait, for all will be well. It is worthy of note, that the Psalm begins with, “Fret not thyself,” and ends with, “Trust in Him.” The Psalm therefore closes with a note that is the death knell of the unhallowed disquietude with which it begins. The literal meaning of the word, “Rest,” is “Be silent.” From the heart that is resting in the Lord all unbelief will vanish. Through the committing of all its griefs and fears to Him, with the knowledge that what He chooses for us is the safest and the best, the heart will enjoy the calm of perfect peace. Rest in the will of God, of which Christ said, “Thou hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me.” Rest in the Word of God, for whatever He wills is for thy good; rest in the love of God with its never failing promises.