Goofus and Gallant

Did you read Highlights magazine as a kid? I did, and there were a few parts I liked. I liked the puzzles in them. They had rebuses and hidden pictures. I was a pro at those. I wasn't a fan of the Timbertoes, but I always liked to read the Goofus and Gallant comic. I fancied myself a rather Gallant fellow, but in reality I probably had several of Goofus' traits.

It was Goofus and Gallant that Psalm 37 reminds me of. You see, Goofus and Gallant were Highlights magazine trying to teach children social and behavior skills. Goofus would show you the wrong way ("Why do I have to brush my teeth?") while Gallant showed you the correct way. ("I will brush my teeth without being reminded.") Goofus would show you the way to danger ("I will sled down this hill even though it leads into traffic") while Gallant would take the safe route. ("Let's go to MacGruder's hill. It's away from the street.") The hope was that children would want to be like Gallant.

David in Psalm 37 does the same thing. He is showing us the error of the "wicked" versus the wisdom of the "righteous." The chapter is a series of "Wicked and Righteous" vignettes as David compares what lies in store for each. David is able to do this because as he says in verse 25, "I have been young, and am now old." He has the wisdom of age. In the same way Highlights magazine was trying to instill good behaviors, David is here trying to pass on his wisdom to the young that they may not follow the errors of the wicked.

A few verses I want to "highlight" from chapter 37:

"Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever.

For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints.

They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.

The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever." (vs. 27-29)

"The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;

he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.

The Lord helps them and delivers them;

he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,

because they take refuge in him." (vs. 39-40)

David is telling us that in his many years he has seen that the Lord is faithful to those who follow Him. He will never abandon them. As the faithful continue in righteousness, the Lord will be their help and stronghold.

Today, take some time and read through the vignettes of Psalm 37. Look for the "evil" that you should "turn away from" and look for the "good" that you should turn to.


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