Question: "What does it mean to commit your way to the Lord (Psalm 37:5)?"
Answer: In the 37th Psalm, David writes that God sustains the righteous (Psalm 37:17) and that their inheritance will be everlasting (Psalm 37:18). The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord (Psalm 37:39). It is a psalm of God’s faithfulness and an encouragement that the righteous do not trust Him in vain. Psalm 37:5 challenges the reader or listener to “commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him.”
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need God to be our refuge, because there would be no threats. But in this fallen and broken world, we desperately need Him to be our refuge. The psalmist instructs that we not fret or be envious because of those who do evil (Psalm 37:1) because they will fade away quickly like the grass (Psalm 37:2). Evil has no staying power. Even though evil gains a foothold in the short term and may even appear to win the day, the reality is that it will not last. Because of that truth, we are encouraged to put our trust in the Lord and to do what He prescribes, which includes living faithfully (Psalm 37:3).
Our delight should not be in our circumstances; rather, our delight should be in the Lord. We should take pleasure in Him, and when we do that—when our desire is for Him—He provides that our desires are met (Psalm 37:4). The closer we get to Him, the more our desires begin to change from our own selfish wants to wanting what He wants for us. After presenting these thoughts, the psalmist exhorts that we commit our way to the Lord and trust in Him (Psalm 37:5). That commitment and trust does not come without reward, as God is faithful, “and He will do it” (NASB)—but what is it that He will do?
When we commit our way to the Lord and trust in Him, God is faithful to “bring forth [our] righteousness” (Psalm 37:6, ESV). When our way is committed to Him, He shapes us and grows us in His righteousness. Paul explained many years after the psalmist wrote that a person who is walking in the Spirit of God will see the fruit of the Holy Spirit in his life (Galatians 5:22–23). God will accomplish His work in our lives—He will transform us by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1–2) if we will simply be committed to allowing Him to do that.
Elsewhere, Paul reminds believers to set their minds on things above (Colossians 3:1–4). The mindset of the believer is important, and it involves commitment to allowing God to do His work in us. Paul provides another example in Ephesians 5:18. He says we should not be drunk with wine, but, instead, we should be filled with the Holy Spirit. When a person drinks wine excessively, that person is submitting to a process that will end in his having little or no control over his body. Instead of submitting our bodies to wine in that way, we should be submitting ourselves to the Holy Spirit of God—immersing ourselves in His Word so that we are controlled by Him and our desires are shaped by Him. When we are doing that, we are filled with His Spirit or are walking in His Spirit, and He is faithful to bear His fruit in us. When we commit our way to the Lord (Psalm 37:5), He will make sure that way is fruitful.