>echoes of psalm 37 in Philippians 4

I have read and studied Philippians 4:2-9 many times. I’ve preached on it at least two times. Yet, as I’m preparing to preach on it this Sunday something struck me. I was reading Psalm 37 this morning in my own devotional time and it felt a lot like I was reading Phil. 4:2-9. Look at some of these parallels:

Phil. 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Psalm 37:4a,”Delight yourself in the LORD”

Phil. 4:5a, “Let your gentleness be evident to all
Psalm 37:8a,”Refrain from anger and turn from wrath”

Psalm 37: 11, “But the meek will inherit the land, and enjoy great peace.”

Phil. 4:5b, “The Lord is near”

Psalm 37:7a, “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him”

Psalm 37:13, “but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day [his day, ESV] is coming.”

Phil. 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything”

Psalm 37:1a, “Do not fret because of evil men”

Psalm 37:7b, “do not fret when men succeed in their ways”

Psalm 37:8b, “do not fret—it leads only to evil”

Phil. 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 37:37-39, “Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off.The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.”

(compare especially the idea of ‘guarding’ and the idea of being a ‘stronghold’)

Phil. 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Psalm 37:27-28, “Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.”

Psalm 37:37, “Consider the blameless, observe the upright”

(much of Psalm 37 is a contrast between the wicked and the righteous)

Phil. 4:9, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you”

Psalm 37:5, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

Psalm 37:34, “Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.”

Here’s a few things to take away:

1. God doesn’t change. His commands and commitments to his people don’t change.

2. Paul was steeped in Scripture.

3. David could speak of the Day of the Lord being near thousands of years before Jesus and Paul did. It is always near, though nearer now than when those great words were written.

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