21. The wicked borrows and does not repay,

Wicked people borrow out of selfishness, and have no intention of returning what they took. Of course, this is no different than stealing, except that what is taken is not taken by violence or stealth at the beginning. Yet such a thing will not take place when God governs the earth.

But the righteous shows mercy and gives.

The righteous do not think of selfishly taking from others. Instead, they display a mind of mercy and giving. This is how it will be when God’s kingdom comes, as Christ commanded in Matthew 5:42, “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.” This would be foolishness in our day, but when God’s government is upon earth, none would think of asking selfishly, or without intention to return. Yet even in our day it is better to give than to receive, as our Lord said.

22. For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth,

This is why the righteous need not selfishly hold on to possessions. When God takes control of the earth, those blessed by Him shall enjoy their portion in it. Anything they generously give away in our day little matters compared to that inheritance.

But those cursed by Him shall be cut off.

Those cursed by the LORD, however, shall be cut off from the earth, and shall have no place in it. How different this is from the attitude of most men today, who see no future for themselves upon this earth, but eagerly desire to leave the earth and go to heaven. Has it changed, then, that those who have no place on the earth are cursed? When did God rescind this statement?

23. The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,

There is no word for “good” here in the Hebrew. This is again speaking of God’s kingdom. At that time, all men’s steps will be ordered by the LORD. He will determine the ways they should go. As Isaiah 30:21 says, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.” This will be God’s control over men upon the earth at that time. This is a dictatorship, but a benevolent dictatorship, if ever there was one. God will teach all men His ways, and order their steps. The result will be that all men will learn the ways of the LORD. What a day that will be!

And He delights in his way.

The LORD will delight in the ways of men at that time, for they will be as He would have them to be. How different that will be from the ways of men today!

24. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;

Though a man might fall in that day, he shall not be utterly cast down. The fall of a man in our day can result in utter destruction. One slip up on the freeway can mean the end of a man’s life. One false accusation can destroy a man’s reputation. One mistake can bring a man to ruin. Yet that is not the way it will be in God’s government.

For the LORD upholds him with His hand.

When that day comes, the LORD will be the One Who will uphold all men. He will not allow them to come into hard times. He will not allow them to suffer from random chance, or even from their own mistakes. He will uphold men, so that they will dwell in safety.

25. I have been young, and now am old;

David is apparently writing this in the later years of his life.

Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,

God was always there to help those of His people who followed Him faithfully at that time.

Nor his descendants begging bread.

David declares this, and it will undoubtedly be true in the day of the Kingdom of God. Even in God’s dispensation toward Israel in the past, He was there to help all who were upright. Yet in our day of the dispensation of grace, we have no guarantees of God’s protection. It is easy for us, in a country where very few are in need or begging for bread, to imagine that this is so. Yet there are many believers in countries where poverty is rampant, and the kindness of others is needed to feed even the righteous. This is the way it is in this time, when man is having his ultimate day. Yet that is not the way it will be when God’s government rules over the earth.

26. He is ever merciful, and lends;

The righteous man of David’s day would show mercy to others, and would lend to those in need. This was because God demanded this of the righteous in His law. They were to care about and take care of each other.

And his descendants are blessed.

This blessing was a result of obeying God’s commands. Therefore, it was a result of God’s judgment. There is no such promise of blessing for those who are merciful lenders today. We live in the dispensation of grace, when all that God gives us comes as a free gift to the undeserving. For God to reward those who are merciful would be for Him to act in government, not in grace, and God will never break His determination to only deal in grace in our day. Yet this was the way things were at the time David wrote, and was God’s policy toward them at that time.

27. Depart from evil, and do good;

This is not a dispensational command, but rather is God’s expectation of men at all times. He wants men to depart from evil and do good today as much as He ever did. And the best thing we can do to do good is to believe on Jesus Christ, the One He sent.

And dwell forevermore.

The result of doing good is to dwell forevermore. This is the Hebrew word olam, which is the equivalent of the Greek word aion, and means, “for the flow.” This could be translated “perpetually,” as in time flowing on and on, but I think we would better understand it if we realize that it is speaking of God’s great future flow, when He will flow out to the world in government and make everything the way He wants it to be. Those who depart from evil and do good in this life are promised that they will dwell on the earth in that future government of God. As Peter said in Acts 10:34b-35, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”

28. For the LORD loves justice,

The LORD loves justice. This is not talking about punishing the wicked. The LORD does not love punishment. The LORD loves making all things fair, all things right, all things just. He loves justice, and He loves bringing it about.

And does not forsake His saints;

The LORD does not leave His saints hopeless. When He brings ultimate justice, they will receive their gracious reward.

They are preserved forever,

These saints, that is, these ones who are set apart to God, will be preserved forever. This does not mean they will never die in this life, for we know that that is not true. This is again talking about that great, future flow of God called the olam. The LORD’s saints will live throughout this great time, from beginning to end. What a blessing that will be!

But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.

The descendants of the wicked will not live throughout that day, but will be cut off from the blessings that the righteous will then receive. What a sad loss that will be!

29. The righteous shall inherit the land,

This is spoken regarding the children of Israel, and declares that they will inherit the land God promised them in that day of the olam. The hope of the faithful Israelites was never a place in heaven. Their hope was always that God would bless them with a place on the earth in their land during God’s great government.

And dwell in it forever.

Again, it will be during the olam, the great outflow of God to the world, that the righteous Israelites will truly inherit the land of Israel. They have never had it as God has promised they would have it. But in that day, every promise to them regarding that land will be fulfilled.

30. The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,

This speaks of the words of the righteous in that time. Their mouths will speak wisdom. In our day, even the righteous can be deceived regarding many things. Yet in that day, God’s wisdom will be available to all freely and without deception. Therefore, it will be ready to the lips of every righteous person.

And his tongue talks of justice.

They will also talk of justice. How well will they know this, since God will be working justice on every side, and they will see examples of it every day! In that kind of atmosphere, no wonder they will talk of it. What amazing things they will see, and what wonders will they talk about! We can only guess at many of them in our dark and wicked day. Yet in that day, those of us who have Christ’s righteousness will glory in knowing God’s justice.

31. The law of his God is in his heart;

This reminds us clearly of Jeremiah 31:33, which declares the new covenant God will make with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, when He will “put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” This psalm is speaking of that time, when God’s law will not be something outside of the people of Israel that God expects them to keep, but will be in their very hearts, so that they will long to do what is right rather than desiring to do what is wrong.

None of his steps shall slide.

The result of the law being in their hearts rather than an external thing that they must follow will be that none of their steps shall slide. With their hearts desiring to do the law, what could ever cause them to break it? The day of sin and death will have come to an end, for every man will desire to do what is right.

32. The wicked watches the righteous,

This returns us from that future day, to remind us of wicked men, and the character that such men have. Wicked men watch the righteous. How well we know this! They are eager to catch anyone who stands up for righteousness in a slip, for they feel that this will justify their own, evil way.

And seeks to slay him.

The wicked desire the destruction of the righteous. If they cannot turn them from their righteousness, then they would rather see them dead and gone.

33. The LORD will not leave him in his hand,

When that future day of God’s kingdom on earth comes to pass, the LORD will not leave the righteous in the hand of the wicked. This could happen today. The LORD is not actively working to ensure that the wicked cannot have power over the righteous. Yet in that day the LORD will work this, and will see to it that His righteous ones are delivered from the hands of such men.

Nor condemn him when he is judged.

The wicked seek to condemn and slay the righteous, yet the LORD does not do so. Rather, He will not condemn the righteous when He judges men upon the earth, and sets all in their proper place. Well do we know why He is able thus to treat them: because their sins have been forgiven through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ!

34.  Wait on the LORD,

Now we are counseled how to live based on the truth of what the LORD will do to the wicked and the righteous in that future day. First of all, we should wait on the LORD. How easy it is to get impatient for Him to at last do the work that will bring these glorious things to pass! Yet we are admonished not to be discouraged, but to wait on Him, for He will make these things a reality in His time.

And keep His way,

Secondly, we are admonished to keep His way. We are not to give up on serving Him, even if our reward for doing so is not immediately apparent.

And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;

The promise to the righteous, if they will do these things, is that they will inherit the land. Of course, we recognize the dispensational place of this statement. This is made to righteous Israelites, whose place will be in the land in God’s future government. We might not be exalted in the land of Israel, but if we wait on the LORD and keep His way, we too will be exalted in our own sphere of blessing, seated with Christ in the most exalted seats.

When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

When shall righteous Israelites inherit the land? When the wicked are cut off from it. Then they will see all these glorious things take place. May God speed the day!

35.  I have seen the wicked in great power,

This is something that David had certainly seen in his life. Think of the things he experienced under the rule of King Saul once he had turned to wickedness! We see this all too often in the day of man.

And spreading himself like a native green tree.

This is just a tree in its native soil. It is healthy, prosperous, and growing, and nothing appears to be there to hinder it. Even so nothing seems to hinder the prosperity of the wicked in our day. God appears to do nothing to ensure the success of the righteous, or the ultimate defeat of the wicked. We know He cannot do this in the dispensation of grace in which we live. Yet someday He will do this, and then all wickedness will come to an end!

36.  Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;

This is the way it will be when God’s government comes. The wicked, who once had been so prosperous, will be gone, passed away and existing no more. What a day!

Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.

Even a careful search of the earth in that time would fail to produce one wicked person. They will be gone, not to be found.

37.  Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;

In contrast to the wicked, we are now urged to mark the blameless man, and observe those who are upright. What will their fate be? Will they too pass away, nevermore to be found?

For the future of that man is peace.

How different is the fate of the blameless than the fate of the wicked! Whereas the wicked will pass away from off the earth, the blameless and upright have a future, and that future is characterized by peace. The Scriptural idea of peace is not mere tranquility, though that, too, is desirable. Rather, peace indicates a true union, and for the righteous, that union will be with God in that day when He reveals Himself to all.

The word “future” here is the Hebrew word achariyth, and is the word used in the phrase “last days.” Here, it clearly does not mean “last” or “end,” but rather means the resulting state of that man. We might even say the “sequel” of that man, for the life to come is certainly the sequel of this life, and is a result of a life of faith lived even in this dark world.

38.  But the transgressors shall be destroyed together;

Now we contrast again the fate of transgressors with the fate of the blameless and upright man. This psalm reminds us again and again of that difference, and the fate that truly is in store for the wicked. They will be destroyed. This does not take place piecemeal, or one at a time. Rather, the transgressors shall be destroyed together. This will take place when God takes control of the earth and makes an end of the way of the transgressor once and for all.

The future of the wicked shall be cut off.

Again the word for “future” here is achariyth. The end, the result, the sequel for the wicked shall be cut off. They shall have no good result. The sequel to their lives on earth will be short, for its end shall be destruction.

39.  But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;

The deliverance, preservation, and blessing of the righteous is from the LORD. He will see to it that they will receive their reward. If we depend upon anything else, we will find that salvation from all other sources is only temporary. Yet the salvation of the LORD will last for the outflow, and those who have His righteousness shall enjoy it forever!

He is their strength in the time of trouble.

Even in the time of trouble the LORD is the strength of the righteous. This might be a reference to the time we usually call the “tribulation,” which is the time of Jacob’s trouble. Then indeed the righteous Israelites will all receive their strength from the LORD. Yet certainly even in our day this is also true, for when we have trouble and sorrow in this life, our strength is in truly knowing that the LORD is by our side!

40.  And the LORD shall help them and deliver them;

The LORD helps and delivers the righteous. We know that in our dispensation we cannot count on the LORD’s deliverance, as much as we would like to think this is so. Righteousness is no guarantee of safety in this life. Yet when God’s government comes to earth, then the LORD will indeed help and deliver all the righteous, even if it means delivering them from death to enjoy the wonders of His glorious kingdom.

He shall deliver them from the wicked,

In that government to come, the righteous will at last be delivered once and for all from the wicked, for all the wicked and their power and influence will pass away.

And save them,

Again to be saved does not just mean deliverance from sin, but also from every danger posed by the wicked. And it does not just mean deliverance, but also preservation and blessing. These things will all be the portion of the righteous when the LORD brings these glorious promises to pass.

Because they trust in Him.

It is their confidence, their expectation, their trust in the LORD that earns the righteous a place in this wonderful future. Trust here is linked inseparably to faith, which is the only means to become righteous in the eyes of the LORD. It is faith that procures us these future blessings. And we know that this is what our faith in God’s Son guarantees us. We will see this day when the wicked are destroyed and the LORD’s blessings are upon the righteous. All this is ours because of what our Lord Jesus Christ did for us.