New Year’s Message
Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk
Read Psalm 37:1-11
Has anyone ever said this to you? Oh, don’t cry over spilled milk!
What are they saying?
Well, this idiom basically means…don’t waste time worrying and being upset by those things that have already taken place and cannot be changed.
The Bible calls this fretting. The definition of the word fret is to be vexed or troubled, to worry…to be worn away as if eaten by worms, to be corroded. It also means to move in an agitated way…actually the picture here is to gnaw away with the teeth of a rodent. Do you fret?
This time of year there is always a lot of fretting going on. Why?
Because as we come now into a new year, most of us spend time looking back on the year past, and a lot of us look back with regret and we fret. We reflect on the past, and dwell on our failures and problems; we go through a period of self-examination. We think about the things we should have done, things we should have said, things we couldn’t accomplish, people we hurt or disappointed, people who have hurt or disappointed us and on and on…fretting about things that have past.
But with each New Year comes the thought of a new beginning. With the New Year comes a hope that things will be different, that things will be better.
We are told to ring out the old and usher in the new.
Most people would like to make certain changes in the New Year but do not seem to have an antidote for fretting. Sometimes we think that just because it is a New Year, we automatically change.
I love what the Christian rap artist trip Lee said. “A New Year doesn’t guarantee a new you.
So what is the antidote?
Alfred Lord Tennyson, the brilliant English poet says something quite interesting in his poem, In Memoriam: Ring Out, Wild Bells. In his second stanza he wrote this:
Ring out the old, ring in the new
Ring happy bells, across the snow
The year is going, let him go
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
I love that…ring in the true.
When I think of what is true…I immediately think of our Lord Jesus Christ who declared Himself to be the way, the truth and the life.
What we need to do is stop crying over spilled milk and ring in what is true.
In our text today, King David writes some interesting words that will help us to be on the right track as we enter 2016.
In these verses David gives us the remedy or antidote to counter fretting.
Here in Psalm 37, David is trying to answer the age old question…why do the wicked seem to get away with everything and prosper while the righteous continue to suffer?
Maybe you have felt like that, maybe you feel like that today. Whether this is your story or not…the words penned here are a great key for ringing in the truth. And although it is OT, the truth is the truth and is always current in our lives.
In the first 11 verses of this Psalm, David directs us towards the faithfulness of God. David looks at the situation he is in and immediately evaluates it in eternal terms instead of looking at the situation in terms of what is happening to him at that time. In other words, David takes his eyes off his circumstances and fixes them on God.
In verse 1, David begins with a simple command…do not fret! (Read) David is basically saying…don’t cry over spilled milk. Do not get upset by things you cannot change. At this point is his life David had plenty to fret about, so much had happened to him, most being brought on by his own actions. He had much to fret about, but instead of fretting about it, he chooses to calm himself with God’s faithfulness, righteousness and justice.
Maybe today you have a lot to fret about…you know how David felt. The Hebrew word used here for fret is charali (khaw-rali) and it means to be blazed up in anger. Fretting can cause you to be burning with anger, seething with jealousy.
How could this person, that person, that company, those individuals do that to me and get away with it? How come they always look so good, and get all the promotions. They get the best spots, the most enjoyment and they are wicked? Hey Lord, what about me???
David says, “Don’t cry over spilled milk.”
David repeats this command two more times in verses 7 and 8. I always say when it is written in God’s word once we should take notice, heed and obey, but when it is repeated several times…then the Lord is really trying to get our attention so take extra notice.
David says do not fret over evil doers, do not be jealous of their prosperity for they will get theirs. Look at verse 2.
This theme of the wicked receiving their just reward is throughout the entire book of Psalms and Proverbs. The argument here is that the wicked are only temporary. (verses 9, 22, 28, 34, 38)
Beginning in verse 3 David tells us how to solve the problem of fretting and actually gives us an antidote. (Read)
A fretful heart is one that is not trusting in the Lord to accomplish those things which are before you. Because a fretful heart lacks the joy and the peace of the Lord. Paul tells the Philippians to be anxious for nothing…he is saying the same thing…do not fret.
David says, trust in the Lord, do good and stay in the land…it’s as if he is saying…you could fret, not trust and leave the land if you want? But why would you do that?
Remember for the Christian the Land of Promise symbolizes the abundant life we have in Christ. So the choice is yours…fret, and leave…or trust in the Lord and dwell with Him in confidence.
We as Christians we should stay close to Christ…we should be trusting in His completed work upon the cross and not fretting. Instead of wringing our hands with anxiety, we should be raising our hands in praise and submission to His will.
Then David says, we need on feed on His righteousness.
Instead of feeding off the world and enjoying its delicacies, which leads to fretting…our food, our sustenance is the Word of God in Christ…the true manna from heaven. Matthew records Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:6, ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
Are you hungry for the Word of God today? It is the only thing that will satisfy our hunger for righteousness inside us. Hunger and thirst for righteousness and be blessed Jesus says.
David continues in verse 4. (Read) What a wonderful promise to start the new year. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
What are the desires of your heart? The Lord knows! The word delight comes from the root word meaning to grow up in luxury, to be pampered. To me this speaks of the abundant blessings we have been given in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1) This speaks of those blessings apart from salvation that God bestows upon His children as any good father would.
When we are fretting, we ignore the One who blesses because we are not trusting in His ability to accomplish what concerns me. We have our eyes on the temporal, the physical instead of keeping our eyes on the eternal, keeping our eyes on the One who is able to keep us from all harm and give us the desires of our hearts.
If you only want the material things of life…this promise is not for you. When we delight ourselves in the Lord, He becomes our hearts desire, and He then gives us more of Him. In that instance, the Lord satisfies our desires. He satisfies our hunger for righteousness.
Trust in the Lord, Dwell in the land, delight yourself in the Lord, and next David says, commit your ways to Him. Sounds a lot like Proverbs 3:5-6.
In verse 5-6, David says commit. Not commitment to ministry or even service, but commitment to Him. Giving Him your everything. Are you all in for the Lord or are you holding back. Read 5-6 again.
The verb used here means to roll off your burdens. 1 Peter 5:7 says to cast our cares on Him because He cares for you. Why does God want our burdens? So we can be irresponsible? No! That would only lead to failure. God wants our burdens so He can vindicate you before your enemy. Our greatest enemy is Satan, the accuser of the brethren. Jesus our advocate, our mediator, will surely vindicate us before the Father. He has already defeated our enemy.
In verses 7-8 David says…now rest in the Lord. (Read) I find that this is sometimes the hardest to do. The verb to rest means to be still, to be silent. In another translation it says be still before the Lord. David said, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Sometimes we cannot hear what the Spirit is saying because we will not be still before the Lord, we will not be silent. The world speaks in a very loud way; we must be still to hear His still small voice.
Have you ever wanted silence but we unable to get it? New Year’s Eve.
We must learn to patiently wait upon God, and unless we do, we will never experience His peace. When we get upset and fret because of the schemes of the evil doers and wicked we doubt the works of God, we doubt His goodness and His grace…we doubt His justice system. In order to experience His peace, we must not fret. We must cease from anger, forsake wrath…those people you are mad at probably certainly deserve a little wrath. Chances are though, they do not even know you are mad at them. Notice it says it causes harm…yeah…to you. BP. Stress. Sleeplessness, agitation, no peace…this is not God’s will for us.
The wicked will get their comeuppance. God is not mocked, the wicked will be cut off.
But…you know how I love the but God verses…this turns the entire verse into a positive. V 9-11…although the wicked will be cut off…the meek will inherit the earth.
Jesus said in Mathew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Meekness is not equated to weakness. The meaning of meekness is power under constraint. Power under control.
Jesus had all the power of the universe at His disposal…He could have called legions of angels down from heaven to wipe out the Romans, He could have destroyed them with one word from His mouth…remember in the garden when they came for Him and asked…are you Jesus of Nazareth? When He answered I am, they all fell backwards. No, no! Never underestimate what power Jesus had at His disposal.
Those who wait patiently upon the Lord, shall receive an abundance of blessings and inherit the earth.
So my brothers and sisters, as we begin this new year let us lay aside the world and its weight, let us lay aside the sin that so easily ensnares us, and do not fret, do not cry over spilled milk. We are to forget those things which are behind and press onward towards Christ. It can be a new beginning.
We trust in the Lord knowing that He will accomplish that which He started in you…believe that He knows what He is doing in your life. He has it all under control. He knows exactly where He wants you to be, what He wants you to do and how you are going to accomplish it. We need to trust in a Father who loves us and manifested that love by sending His Son to earth as a man to take on the debt we could not pay so we could be reconciled to Him.
We should delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give to us the desires of our hearts which will be more of Him. We Commit our way to Him, allowing Him to direct our paths by the Holy Spirit, and we rest in Him. He is the One who has completed the work. The work of salvation has been completed on the cross. We must therefore rest and wait patiently for Him.
Look at the first word of the first six verses: fret not, but trust, delight, commit, and rest. What a wonderful way to start the New Year…