Last week we took a look at Salvation and it occurred to me what follows validates the saving grace of God through his Son Jesus Christ. Because of the kindness of God given freely we can receive the gift of eternal life…but as I wrote then, there must be repentance…that you might say is the rest of the story. Today we look at an interesting contrast between the wickedness of man and the goodness of God. Psalm 36 is our subject this week, all 12 verses of it. This psalm is considered by many to be the best of the collection. The period in which it was written…
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a large number of Judeans from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital city of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, following their defeat in the Jewish–Babylonian War and the destruction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. The event is described in the Hebrew Bible, and its historicity is supported by archaeological and non-biblical evidence.
We will break it down for a closer look. In verses 1-4 this psalm notes the miserable state of the wicked and verses 5-9 speaks to the excellence of God’s mercy in itself, and to his followers. In verse 10 we encounter prayers for the upright; moving to verse 11 a prayer for himself that he may be saved from pride and violence. The last verse, 12, shows the end of the workers of iniquity.
Transgressions reside in our hearts and speak to us, encouraging us to continue in our wicked ways. It is accepted that in many ways that what lies in a persons heart so goes their mind. The spirit of transgression lives and reigns and grows in the heart of those who have no knowledge of God. Because there is no knowledge of God, nothing hinders this natural inclination to live out the ways of wickedness and because we do not know God, we have no fear of God. The Babylonians were idolaters of the grossest kind living a life filled with sin and greed, history confirms this. When we allow sin to come into our hearts and the love of God does not dwell in the heart and mind this fosters an attitude of no fear as our mind tells us to go and do and we embrace the evil that beckons us. We can lose direction in our life, actually flattering ourselves by pleasuring ourselves and are blind to our sins and believe others are also. If we could see ourselves as we really are, we would then see how truly detestable we really are. The very words from our mouths are those of deceit and calculated to pervert others, and lead them astray. The often heard words of ‘he plots while we sleep’ is true of an evil mind that is busy in the darkness plotting next steps and doing so with no sense of God, kindness or remorse. Such is the character of sin and evil.
All of us over time have looked at someone who in our mind, through their actions, are living a deceitful and wrong life. We may even ask ourselves why God lets them, so to speak…get away with it. You might find the answer to that question a bit confusing. The answer my friends lies there in verse 5…Psalm 36- Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens your faithfulness to the skies. God’s faithfulness binds him to fulfill the covenants and the promises made by his mercy.
Consider the mountains of God, made by his own hands, the tops of which are unreachable by mortals and from these he rains down on us his mercy, truth, righteousness, and judgments. There is no limit on the intensity and good in the nature of God and that it is his delight to make all his creatures happy. He preserves the man, and he preserves the beast even when their natural nature might compel them to actions that would do them harm. Within the shadow of God his kindness is indescribably excellent, abundant, and freely given. It should come as no surprise that the children of Adam put their trust under the shadow of God’s wings, looking to His providence for the supply of their bodies; they trust in His mercy for the salvation of their souls. In verse 8 the psalmist refers to the joyous expectation they had of being restored to their own land, and to the ordinances of the temple. Verse 9 reminds us that no man can be a light unto his own self, all light, knowledge and understanding comes from God. In this verse we are brought to the understanding that God is light, it was God that said, “Let there be Light”…by that light the eye of man was enabled to behold the various works of God, and the beauties of creation. By this same light He can see our sins, frailties and even into our very souls. God’s words of salvation can illuminate those very things in our heart and soul that thrive in the darkness of sin. Through this, the light of God and his son Christ we might reconcile ourselves to our God and savior Jesus Christ. “In God’s light, we shall see the light”
In the next verse it is plain that the psalmist makes known the continued need for God’s loving kindness. The need for the grace which justifies the ungodly, and sanctifies the unholy removes the cover of darkness and frees us to be reconciled to God. This is true of every genuine penitent, and of every true believer. Moving to verse 11 the prayer of the psalmist is that the treatment from the Babylonians over the last seventy years may come to an end. Lord, Restore us to our land…and let not the foot of the proud and violent remove us from it again. Verse 12 speaks to the fate of those whose pride has gone before them. Clarke’s Commentary ends it best with these words.
“The object of this Psalm is to implore God, out of his goodness, that he would deliver the upright from the pride and malice of the wicked.”
Life is Good