(7) Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
(8) Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm. (9) For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the LORD,
They shall inherit the earth.
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These admonitions can be broadly grouped into two categories. On one hand, we are instructed to let go of the anger, and on the other, we are told to wait on God. Both elements are vital—to be effective, they must be exercised together.
In this psalm, David counsels us not to worry about people who rile us, advising, "Do not allow them to get your ire up." "Cease from anger, and forsake wrath," he writes. If a command like this is given, it is a sure sign that it can be accomplished—especially if we have been given God's Spirit. However, for the command to be carried out, it must be accompanied by the rest of the psalmist's advice, which centers on God's sovereignty and submitting to His control over us rather than continuing a power struggle that may have begun early in our lives. If we think we are—or should be—the one in control, we will likely be upset about what everyone else is doing and whether justice is being served as we think it should be.
Nevertheless, David urges, put your mind at ease. God is on His throne. The evildoers will be taken care of, and the righteous will be rewarded—though it might take considerable patient endurance before it is all resolved. Yet, the fact that God is overseeing His physical and spiritual creation gives us the freedom to let go of the indignation, resentment, impatience, and antagonism that blossoms into anger, wrath, malice, and hatred.
Verse 9 says that those who wait on the Lord will inherit the earth, indicating that they are also meek (see Matthew 5:5). This contemplation of eternity—an everlasting inheritance—is the flipside of those practicing the works of the flesh(including ungodly anger in its various forms), who "will not inherit the Kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:21).
Unrighteous anger, no matter how well it is hidden away, will always destroy relationships. We should never forget that the essence of eternal life is our relationship with the Father and the Son (John 17:3). That relationship, though, does not exist in a vacuum; our relationships with others reflect the quality of our relationship with God (see I John 2:9; 3:15; 4:20). Those who meekly wait on God, rather than stoking the coals of anger within, will be given eternal life.
— David C. Grabbe
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