Endless Pursuits – Psalm 37

The Endless Pursuit Growing Closer to God Every Day
February 7, 2023

Endless Pursuits – Psalm 37

The Endless Pursuit Growing Closer to God Every Day

Listen to last week’s sermon entitled Endless Pursuits found in Psalm 37.

Pastor Eric’s sermon on February 5, 2023, focused on the futility of unrelenting pursuits. Countless pursuits and aspirations fill our lives. In time, however, we come to realize that pursuing these desires over an extended period of time does not contribute to the enrichment of our lives. Although they only intensify our thirst, we continue to pursue them regardless. This is what Pastor Eric refers to as ‘endless pursuits’.


One day, a young man was walking through the forest when he came across an older man sitting by a stream. The young man asked the old man what he was doing, and the older man replied, I am fishing.” The younger man responded, “Oh, that’s interesting. How many fish have you caught?” The older man replied, “I caught nothing’. Intrigued, the young man asked, “Why are you out here fishing if you are not catching any fish?” To which the wise old man replied, “I do not fish to catch fish. I fish for peace.”

At times, we give precedence to things that are not as valuable as we perceive them to be. Sometimes in life, we pursue the wrong things and fail to recognize what is truly important. As opposed to fishing for wealth, power, and material possessions, we should seek peace, happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

Read Genesis 2:18

Our world has brainwashed us into believing that if we had a certain amount of money in our bank account, we would be truly happy. As a result, we conclude that if we do not have this amount of money at our disposal, we cannot possibly be happy. Some assume that if they marry the right person, they will live happily ever after. In Genesis 2:18, God stated that “it is not good for the man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion.” The institution of marriage is a blessing because it has been ordained by God. It should be noted, however, that the marital relationship is not without its challenges. While marriage has many positive aspects, storms will arise. There is a common misconception among some students that if only they could perform a particular move, jump, or trick shot, all of their classmates would respect them. In the minds of some young women, if they had the body of the girl on the poster they would gain attention. Others believe that if they are successful in their careers, or if they are promoted, their lives will be fulfilling. In the opinion of others, if they obtain the proper education, people will deem them intelligent and will be more inclined to value their opinions. Some individuals are seeking comfort, some are in search of the latest experience, while others are pursuing the latest sensation or fad.

Read Proverbs 11:18

It has been reported that 70% of Canadians have purchased lottery tickets at some point in their lives. On average, Canadians spend $400 annually on lottery tickets. These tickets generate a revenue stream for the government of more than $10 billion annually, including $4.3 billion in Ontario alone.

People tend to believe that if they had more money, all of their problems would be resolved. In spite of the fact that their debts and financial difficulties may be eliminated, this would not solve all of their problems. As a general rule, the faster we receive money, the faster it is spent. Money is earned for a reason. The purpose of work is a feature of God’s design. As stated in the Bible, “we reap what we sow”.

The pursuit of desires consumes our hearts and minds. As a matter of fact, after attaining what we desired, we soon realize that our hearts remain unfulfilled. It should be noted, however, that some of the things Pastor Eric mentioned are not inherently evil. Money does not constitute a problem, according to the Bible. What is at issue is our relationship with money. Money is not intrinsically wrong; however, when it becomes a source of security for us and our idol, then it constitutes a problem.

As we devote ourselves to endless pursuits with the belief that if we achieve them, we will find lasting happiness, Pastor Eric came to remind us that they will only leave us thirsty for more. The need for more will never cease, and we will never be truly satisfied. While they may be enjoyable for a time, they are not conducive to long-term happiness.

Read John 6:35 and 14:6

Pastor Eric advised us today that if we feel compelled to engage in endless pursuits, we should refocus our desire, change our hearts, and set our minds on Jesus Christ, who will truly satisfy our souls. The Lord will provide us with unconditional love, peace, a sense of purpose, satisfaction, and eternal life. The Bible states in John 6:35 that Jesus is the Bread of Life and that those who come to Him will never go hungry or thirsty. It is by turning to Jesus that our insatiable hunger and thirst will be satisfied, not through activities or religion. Our spiritual nourishment comes from Christ, whose presence among us serves not to upgrade our lives, but to grant us a new life through His grace. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the truth, the way, and the life.” Apart from Him, there is no truth. Truth is not a concept, it is a person.

Read Matthew 11:28

As recorded in Matthew 11:28, Jesus invited all of us who are tired of carrying heavy burdens to come to Him, and He will give us rest. He says, “I will give you rest.” Such rest cannot be found in any kind of comfort this world offers. It is therefore essential that we set our minds and hearts on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Read Psalm 16:11 and 46:10

In Psalm 16:11, David is quoted as saying, “You will teach me the right way to live. Just being with you will bring complete happiness. Being at your right side will make me happy forever.” The presence of God brings us joy in abundance. For instance, despite undergoing a trial, such as receiving a negative diagnosis from our physician, we leave the appointment feeling happy and at peace. While we may not have a plan out of the current situation, we remain reassured and joyful. The assurance that God is with us is reassuring during our time of trial. We are instructed in Psalm 46:10 to “be still and know that I am God”. The rest, peace, and joy that God provides cannot be found in material possessions, titles, positions, or money. As Jesus Christ embodies these characteristics, we can only find true joy in putting the Lord first and abstaining from endless pursuits. Many of us are pursuing things that God never intended us to possess while failing to take advantage of the resources He has made available to us.

Read Isaiah 55:2

Isaiah 55:2 states,

“Why waste your money on something that is not real food? Why should you work for something that does not really satisfy you? Listen closely to me and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the food that satisfies your soul.

In this passage, Jesus asks why we waste our resources, efforts, and lives pursuing things that cannot provide true nourishment and satisfaction. Many devote their time and energy to pursuits that consume their hearts and minds. Some individuals strive for power or status in the hopes that it will allow them to achieve a level of control over their lives and others. According to them, the promotion or title will finally grant them the power they have always desired. The truth is, however, that once these things are acquired, these people are soon disappointed to discover that they do truly satisfy.

Read Psalm 37

Psalm 37, a psalm of David, offers a strategy to counteract the pursuit of things that are unfulfilling, insufficient, unsatisfying, and futile, and to find what really matters in life. Many of the psalms David composed were either songs or praises to God. These psalms were a means by which he expressed his thoughts, emotions, and relationship with the Lord. Sometimes, he even spoke to himself. It was in the Lord that he found encouragement. We should consider what David said in Psalm 37:1 since it is often regarded as a psalm of wisdom. It states that “we should not worry about evildoers or envy those who do wrong”.

As a means of growing closer to God every day:

1 – We are not to give control of our peace and happiness to someone else.

As children of God, we must never rely on other people for what only Jesus can provide. Furthermore, as Christians, we should never allow others to strip us of the peace, joy, and satisfaction that Jesus brings us through His presence. To put it another way, we should not allow others to dictate our level of happiness and peace.

Read Psalm 37:1

In this passage, David states, “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong.” The word ‘titchar’ (do not fret) in Hebrew literally means ‘to burn or be kindled with anger’, or in contemporary English, ‘Don’t lose your cool.’ The truth is, since we are the ones who have the power of transferring our joy to others, no one can deprive us of it. When we are offended, it is we who must consider whether the circumstances warrant us losing our temper.

In one of his powerful statements, Rick Warren once said,

You cannot control the lies that people may speak about you, but you can control the truth. Live so that people have to make up stuff in order to accuse you.

Various reasons may lead people to fabricate stories about others. It may be due to jealousy. It is also possible that their motivation is simply to feel good about themselves, so they slander or diminish others in order to enhance their own image. Or, it may be that they are merely repeating what someone else has said about a specific person, whom they do not actually know. Despite never having met the individual, they have already formed an opinion about him or her. There is a tendency in our society to judge a book by its cover. A professional judge ensures that all angles are covered, all evidence is heard, and all facts are verified. He or she then formulates a judgment based on that information. In today’s world, that is no longer the case. A person who claims that another individual is evil is likely to be believed. The belief that a person is evil is one thing, but it is quite another when others without any knowledge of the individual also express the same belief. Despite what others do, we should never allow their actions to steal our peace, or their wrongful or evil behaviours to steal our joy. Pastor Eric is referring to a type of peace, joy, and satisfaction that cannot be found in a perfect world, under perfect circumstances, in a perfect bank account, or in a perfect body. It can only be found in one perfect person: Jesus Christ. If our joy and peace are dependent upon the situations we find ourselves in as well as the actions and words of others, we will experience burnout. True permanent joy is not dependent upon the situations we face or the environment in which we live. It is an intangible quality that is unrelated to our circumstances. In the face of a broken world filled with imperfect people, a righteous individual should not abandon the values he or she holds dear when the unrighteous commit injurious acts.

2 – We are to stay clear of envy at all costs.

Read Psalm 37:1

Psalm 37:1b states,

…or be envious of those who do wrong.

As David makes clear, the actions of evildoers should not be a concern to us, and neither should the means by which they achieve prosperity. It is important not to be envious of those who commit wrongdoing, who take questionable shortcuts, who do not follow a moral compass, and who lack values or integrity. We are not to envy them. We are reminded in Scripture that God commands that we not envy anyone, whether they be godly or ungodly. A lifestyle that conforms to this principle is one that is obedient to the Lord.

Read Exodus 20:17

One of the Ten Commandments recorded in Exodus 20 states,

Do not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

In other words, we are not to harbour any sense of envy toward our neighbour. In addition to being a sin, envy can also lead to feelings of unhappiness, resentment, and dissatisfaction in one’s own life. Or, to put it another way, living with envy is believing that we cannot be happy unless we possess what others have. In the absence of true contentment in the Lord, we will always desire what others possess. A desire for power, status, or even the life of others will always exist within us.

Read Proverbs 14:30

According to Proverbs 14:30,

A sound heart is the life of the flesh, but envy the rottenness of the bones.

This highlights the detrimental effects of envy on our physical, spiritual, and relational health.

Read Galatians 3:13-14 and John 1:12

What makes a child of God, whose Father is the wealthiest, most resourceful, most powerful, most intelligent, most knowledgeable, and wisest of all, desire what the other children have? As he pondered this, Pastor Eric came up with one word: contentment. We are blessed through Christ. By taking upon Himself the curse for our wrongdoing, Jesus bought us out of the doom of the law. As blessed children of God, why would we desire anything that ungodly children possess? What is the reason for wanting what orphans have? As stated in John 1, the only way to become a child of God is to believe in Him and receive Him as our personal Saviour. His sacrifice reconciles us to the Father. If we fail to do so, we are considered orphans. He does not wish for us to remain orphans. If we are looking to become a part of God’s family, now is the time. As His own, we are children of the Most High, the most powerful and resourceful of all fathers, who provides for our needs.

There is nothing more amazing than being in the Lord’s presence. Are we capable of becoming so devoted to spending time at His feet that it becomes the highlight of our day? Only then can we achieve true contentment.

Read Philippians 4:11-13

A church planner, a teacher, and a significant contributor to the Lord’s work, Paul found his identity in his title and in his calling. Nevertheless, he stated,

I am not saying this because I am in need – for whatever circumstance I am in, I have learned to be content. I know what it is to live with humble means, and I know what it is to live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment – both to be filled and to go hungry, to have abundance and to suffer need. I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me.

This is what it means to be content.

3 – We are to trust God and keep doing good.

Read Psalm 37:3

This passage states,

Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.

David is essentially telling us to stop fretting and start trusting, for the unrighteous will reap what they have sown in due time.

Read Psalm 37:2

Psalm 37:2 says,

…because like the grass, they will soon dry up. Like green plants, they will soon die away.

In other words, as grace fades and withers, their power, strength, and vitality will rapidly wane. This passage is intended to remind us that life is short and that whatever the ungodly do will not last forever. There will be retribution for their actions. As grass fades, so too will they. As a result, he encourages his readers to stop fretting and start trusting God to resolve the matter. In light of this, what should we do? Our mission is to make a positive impact on the world. We do not cease to do good because others do not. Our responsibility is to continue doing what we have been called to do.

4 – We are to allow Jesus to be the focal point of our lives rather than a mere footnote.

Read Psalm 37:4

It is stated in Psalm 37:4 that we should

be delighted in the Lord. Then he will give you all your heart’s desires.

Is the Lord truly the source of our delight? Is our devotion to the Lord sincere? Is spending time in His presence something we truly cherish and enjoy? Is it a discipline or a delight? As we delight ourselves in Him, we will begin to desire what God desires. We will crave what He craves. Continuing in one’s old ways has no place in the life of a Christian. We walk in obedience. By obeying Him out of love and putting Him at the forefront of our lives, He grants us our heart’s desires.

Read Matthew 6:33

As stated in this passage, “What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what he wants you to do. Then he will give you all these other things you need.” The Lord advised His followers not to worry about basic needs such as food and clothing, as He would provide for them, especially during times of economic uncertainty such as we are experiencing today.

We should place our trust in the Lord. As we seek Him and delight in Him, make Him our first priority, and pursue Him, He will take care of our needs.

Watch sermon here: