Biblical Instruction for Children:

Psalms 37:21-40

  • The advice here is meant to be an example of how parents are to convey Biblical truths to their children.

When teaching children the Bible it is imperative to help them understand a few things: 

1. God wants you to know something.

2. God wants you to do something, or not to do something. 


This passage in Psalms is covering two overall subjects. 

1. How to identifying wicked and righteous people by their deeds and desires. 

2. How God is going to deal with the wicked and the righteous. 


With these things in mind, the passage in Psalms 37:21-40 can be broken down into these categories like this. 


The Description of the Wicked and Righteous Man:

21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.

30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.


Ask children to listen to what God says describes the wicked and the righteous, which category describes them? According to the above verses we now have a short list of descriptions.


The Wicked:

1. Borrow and do not repay. 

They are thieves and liars. They have no respect for the property of others. They can not be trusted to honor their word.

2. Watch righteous people and seek to slay them. 

They know who loves God’s law, and who keeps God’s law. They seek to harm those that follow God’s law-word any way they can. They see the prosperity that comes with obedience to God, and they despise it. Every time the righteous prosper because of their obedience to God, it reminds them of their disobedience and points out the cause of their poverty and pain is their sin. These seek to destroy the righteous because they shine a light on their evil deeds and they despise it.


The Righteous:

1. Shew mercy and give.

When they see someone in need, they are willing to help them. They are eager to give their time, energy, efforts, and money if need be to help someone who is in genuine need. They are not hesitant or irritated when they help others. They do not to be forced into helping. They willfully help others and delight in it. 

2. Steps are ordered by God and they delight in them.

They know the law of God and view the will and word of God as the standard and direction for their lives. They are not self-willed, these obey God rather than themselves. These also delight in the course and order their life. They see God’s direction and law as a way of life and prosperity. They are thankful for God’s commandments, and they happily delight to keep them.

3. Depart from evil and do Good. 

They know what evil is because God has defined good and evil through His law. The righteous separate themselves from sin and they keep the commandments of God. Because of this they are promised eternal life. 

4. Speak wisdom and talk of Judgment.

They give good advice to those that would listen to them, and they not only know the commandments, but they also teach the commandments of God to their family and others.

5. The law of God is in their heart.

The righteous have more than a external allegiance to the law of God. They want to keep the commandments of God. They love the commandments of God. Even when others can not see them or hear them they still have an inner desire to keep the commandments of God, not to be seen by others, but to be seen by God. 


The other section is concerned with how God deals with wicked and righteous people. God tells both the wicked and the righteous what to expect God to do to them, and He also tells them what their futures will be.


God’s Dealings with the Wicked and the Righteous:

22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

28 For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.

33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.

34 Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.


This section is great because it gives children a chance to not only evaluate who they are, either wicked or righteous, they also will get a glimpse at their future according to God.


The Wicked:

1. They shall be cut off from the earth and life to come. These have no future with God, no blessings, only judgment.

2. They will find no forgiveness of their sins, they will pay for their sins now, and they will be cast down in eternity.

3. They are forsaken by God and do not have the assurance of His support or protection. Due to their hatred of God, they have to endure the consequences of their actions which bring poverty and pain. The further a man or nation travels down the road of disobedience to God the more misery, poverty, and eventually literal starvation they find themselves afflicted by.

4. They do not love the judgments and commandments of God, so God forsakes these, God does not give them the promise of provision and protection. Their seed is cut off. They will not be given children, and God will allow those that desire to destroy their children. They will not be remembered by any, nor pass on their evil deeds to their children.

5. Their future is of disinheritance from the land and life. They will be cast down and lose property and life.

6. They can seem to prosper in this life despite their evil deeds and desires, but despite their temporary advancements, all of their efforts, hopes, goals, and achievements will be removed and remembered by none. All that they do is in vain.They are told that they will be destroyed and that they shall be cut off by God. There is not peace with God, but judgment from God.

7. They are not comforted by God. God will not be with them, nor help them, nor deliver them from other wicked men. They do not trust in God and He will not help them in times of need.


The Righteous:

1. They will inherit the earth and the life to come. These have a future with God, and inheritance with Him, and a eternal life in His kingdom.

2. They may fall into disobedience and sin from time to time, but these will not be cast away, God has preserved them. These may suffer loss now, and lose reward to come, but their souls cannot be lost because it is God that has sanctified and justified them and purchased their security.

3. They keep the commandments of God and by doing so are assured of God’s provision and protection. Due to their obedience to God, they do not find themselves afflicted by poverty nor physical starvation. These always have enough to provide for the physical needs of themselves and even others.

4. They are loved by God because they are people that love God’s law which is holy judgment. As they keep His law they keep His judgments, which He loves. God will not forsake His saints, but He will continue to protect and provide for them in all things, especially their souls which are preserved forever. The seed of His saints will not be cut off, but God will instead bless them with children and will continue to be a God unto them just as He is for them.

5. They are reminded to continue keeping the way of God, they are to constantly and purposefully follow the path has laid for them to walk and live in this world. They are to do this with the understanding that they will be exalted and receive an inheritance of God. This will happen when God cuts the wicked off, something they are promised they will see. They are promised that evil will not prevail. This goes back to the reason why God’s saints are not to avenge themselves and why they do not have to repay evil for evil. God will deal with all the wicked in His time. The righteous are told to be patient and wait on God.

6. They are told that wicked men that seem to prosper are only doing so by God’s permission. In the end, however, it will be revealed these men did not prosper and all they did was vanity.

7. They are told to understand that their end is peace with God.

8. They are reminded that their salvation is of God alone, it is not something they have done for themselves. They are also reminded that God will be with them in times of difficulty when confronted and assaulted by the wicked.


These are points to discuss and help children notice.  Every time you instruct children from the Bible you have to try and make sure that they understand what is being said, and in particular how it applies to them. If we simply read the Bible, or recite the Bible, we have not done anything to edify or instruct our children.

All of this can be summed up in the common truth of the Bible: 

Those that Love and Obey God will be blessed and prospered by God now and in eternity, and those that hate and disobey God will be cursed now and in eternity.