Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Psalm 36 - Value of contrasts

In this psalm, David contrasts the wicked (vv. 1-4) and God (vv. 5-9). The wicked person loves transgressions, does not fear God, imagines that his sins will not be discovered, speaks deceitfully, causes trouble and chooses sinful paths. Who would want such a person as a companion and friend?

In contrast, the Lord is marked by love and faithfulness wherever he is (the imagery of the heavens and clouds depict the furthest extent to which the psalmist could see). His standards are immoveable (like mountains, v. 6) and therefore all creatures benefit from his decisions. Fellowship with such a faithful God is precious because he gives secure, loving protection (in the shadow of his wings, the allusion is to how a mother hen protects her young), he supplies abundant, delightful, spiritual provision (feasting and drinking), and he provides assurance of a prosperous future (in his light, they will see light).

The outcome for the psalmist from contrasting the wicked and God is prayer. Intercession is a frequent consequence of meditation. Here David prays for God’s continued goodness to other believers (v. 10) and for personal and permanent deliverance from his powerful opponents (vv. 11-12). His only hope for communal and personal development is God.

This psalm is very relevant for today. Everywhere the wicked seem to prosper and often the righteous suffer. We should follow the psalmist’s example and turn our eyes away from the sinfulness of humans and concentrate on the abundant grace of God.

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