Psalms 37:16-17 NASB
¹⁶Better¹ is the little² of the righteous³
Than the abundance⁴ of many⁵ wicked⁶.
¹⁷For the arms⁷ of the wicked⁶ will be broken⁸,
But the Lord⁹ sustains¹⁰ the righteous¹¹.
¹) Better [is] – טוֹב־ (ṭō·wḇ-) – Pleasant, agreeable, good
²) The little – מְ֭עַט (mə·‘aṭ) – A little, fewness, a few
³) Of the righteous – לַצַּדִּ֑יק (laṣ·ṣad·dîq) – Just, righteous
⁴) Than the abundance – מֵ֝הֲמ֗וֹן (mê·hă·mō·wn) – A noise, tumult, crowd, disquietude, wealth
⁵) Of many – רַבִּֽים׃ (rab·bîm) – Much, many, great
⁶) Wicked – רְשָׁעִ֥ים (rə·šā·‘îm) – Wrong, bad person
⁷) The arms – זְרוֹע֣וֹת (zə·rō·w·‘ō·wṯ) – The arm, the foreleg, force
⁸) Will be broken – תִּשָּׁבַ֑רְנָה (tiš·šā·ḇar·nāh) – To break, break in pieces
⁹) But the LORD – יְהוָֽה׃ (Yah·weh) – YHWH, LORD — the proper name of the God of Israel
¹⁰) Upholds – וְסוֹמֵ֖ךְ (wə·sō·w·mêḵ) – To prop, to lean upon, take hold of
¹¹) The righteous – צַדִּיקִ֣ים (ṣad·dî·qîm) – Just, righteous
King James Version
¹⁶A little that a righteous man hath [is] better than the riches of many wicked. ¹⁷For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.
Is better than the riches of many wicked
Because he has it
- with many great and glorious advantages;
- with God’s favour and blessing,
- with great serenity and satisfaction of his own mind, which is infinitely more desirable and comfortable than all earthly possessions,
- with the consolations of God’s Spirit, and the assurance of everlasting felicity:
while wicked men’s riches are loaded with many encumbrances;
- with the wrath and curse of God;
- with the torment of their own consciences
- with passions;
- with the dreadful expectation of an after-reckoning,
- and with endless miseries.
A natural reflection, when it is remembered that great riches bring corresponding cares (Proverbs 15:16), and often lead to ruinous indulgence and luxury (Proverbs 13:25; Job 20:12.)
Besides, the contentment which is often enjoyed in virtuous poverty seldom dwells with the mammon of unrighteousness.
Literally, “noise and tumult,” as incidental to much wealth (compare Ps 39:6). Thus the contrast with the “little” of one man is more vivid.
For the arms &c.
All the power which they have misused for evil will be rendered impotent. Cp. Psalms 10:15; Job 38:15.
The wicked shall be disabled from doing more mischief.
If not slain outright, they shall return from the combats that they have provoked with shattered weapons (Psalms 37:15) and damaged persons.
i.e., Of the body, not the sword and bow mentioned before.
In contrast, the arms of Jehovah are under the righteous, and uphold him.
The Lord upholdeth the righteous
This is a proof of what he had said Psalm 37:16.
For what the wicked have shall suddenly be lost and gone, but God will maintain the righteous in their happy estate.
When the wicked strives to make him fall (Psalm 37:14), and at all times. See Psalm 37:24, 31. Cp. Psalm 3:5; 54:4; 71:6.
W.M. Taylor was once writing when a canary bird hanging in the room over his head started to sing. Its thrilling notes were not less joyous than those from the little skylark who lived free in nature
In spite of its cage that tiny bird sings, and when its young mistress goes to speak to it, there is a flutter of joy in its wings as with ruffled neck and chattering gladness it leaps to bid her welcome.
So let us accept our bonds, whether of poverty, or weakness, or duty, as the bird accepts its cage.
You may cage the bird, but you cannot cage its song.
No more can you confine or restrain the joy of the heart which, accepting its condition, sees God in it and greets Him from it.
What is your most important capital; your money or your character?
I can assure you, this question will be asked of you a myriad of ways; quite often at the worst of all possible times when you are most vulnerable.
Martin Luther supposedly said that the last thing to get converted in a man was his wallet.
So will you choose the little of the righteous over the wealth of many wicked?
Hmmm! Tough question in a pinch.
So let’s make that decision now before the circumstances change.
God, His Kingdom, His will, and His righteousness come first, right?
- Ask God to give you a love for righteousness and a disdain for greed and covetousness.
- Ask God to help you to serve Him with an undivided heart that cannot be swayed by the material value of a decision.
- Ask God to help you to make your decisions based on what is pleasing to His will.
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