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How could the psalmist say, “I have never seen the righteous forsaken” in Psalm 37:25?

never seen the righteous forsaken

Psalm 37 is an encouraging passage for those who face trials and tribulations. Despite our present suffering, the psalmist knows that God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked (verses 1–6). This reassuring message allows the righteous to “be still before the Lord and wait patiently wait for him” (verse 7; cf. Psalm 46:10). As we wait for the Lord to deliver us from trouble, we should continue to commit our ways to Him.

In Psalm 37:25, the psalmist expresses a statement of faith and trust in God’s providential care for the righteous: “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread” (ESV). This verse is a reference to the psalmist’s own observations. In all his life, the psalmist had never witnessed an instance when God forsook the righteous. This does not imply that the righteous are exempt from poverty and hardship. Rather, the point is that God will not abandon or leave them to fend for themselves in times of trouble (verse 24; cf. Deuteronomy 31:8 and Hebrews 13:5).

Psalm 37:25, therefore, highlights the psalmist’s confidence that God is faithful and will not abandon the righteous. Again, there’s no promise that the righteous are immune from pain and suffering. Jesus said that God “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). Throughout the Bible, we find many examples of God sending rain on the righteous (Job 2:10; Isaiah 45:7; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 12:7–10). Amidst the turbulent waves of life, God promises to provide and care for the righteous.

While the psalmist’s words that “I have never seen the righteous forsaken” might seem fanciful or out of touch with reality, they are a powerful reminder of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. Believers are therefore encouraged to hold on to God’s unchanging hand and trust that He will work all things for good (Romans 8:28).

Rather than viewing the psalmist’s words as a guarantee that the righteous will never face trials and tribulations, we should interpret Psalm 37:25 as an expression of hope and assurance. The psalmist’s personal experiences inform his testimony about God’s unwavering support for the righteous.

In our own lives, we will encounter instances when God’s providential care is evident, and we will have a testimony of our own. However, we must remember that our understanding is limited, and we cannot always fathom the ways that God works. Therefore, it is essential to approach this verse with humility and acknowledge that our understanding is incomplete. Although our experiences may not align with the psalmist’s observations, we can still draw encouragement from his experiences with a faithful God.

Ultimately, Psalm 37:25 invites us to reflect on our own relationship with God and to deepen our trust in Him. It also encourages us to seek righteousness and align ourselves with His will (cf. Matthew 6:33 and Romans 12:2), knowing that He will supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19).

As we navigate the highs and lows of life, let us remember the psalmist’s words in Psalm 37:25 and be encouraged by them. When we face obstacles and challenges, we can hold fast to the fact that God will never forsake the righteous. In Him, we have everything that we need.

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Questions about Psalms

How could the psalmist say, “I have never seen the righteous forsaken” in Psalm 37:25?
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This page last updated: May 30, 2023