Psalms 36-39 How precious is your steadfast love, O God

From Psalms 36-39

19 Psalms Fragment

If you have been reading Psalms no doubt you will have seen that it is a common theme to differentiate the righteous from the wicked. In today’s Psalm David once again compares the wicked with those who take refuge in the LORD. Those who take refuge in the LORD enjoy his covenant love.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

1 Transgression speaks to the wicked

deep in his heart;

there is no fear of God

before his eyes.

2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes

that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.

3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;

he has ceased to act wisely and do good.

4 He plots trouble while on his bed;

he sets himself in a way that is not good;

he does not reject evil. (Ps 36.1-4)

The inclination of the wicked is to ignore God. He enjoys the idea of transgression of sin. It speaks to him, calling him onward. The wicked enjoy the idea that their sin will not be found out. The idea is tied to their lack of fear in God. Those who fear God know their sin will be found out by him and they will held to account. Its a good idea to confess our sin to the LORD and repent. The wicked plot on their beds. The last thing on their mind before they drift off is evil. Be careful about what sends you off to sleep. David turns his focus on the LORD.

5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,

your faithfulness to the clouds.

6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;

your judgments are like the great deep;

man and beast you save, O LORD. (Ps 36.5-6)

David speaks about the LORD’s steadfast love, his covenant love in caring for his elect. These people are also called the righteous. The LORD’s covenant love is all over creation. There is no place where God’s love cannot reach. Here the LORD’s righteousness is associated with the covenant. God is righteous and honours the covenant he has made with his people.

But his righteousness is also blended in this Psalm with him judging as king and saving those he is in covenant with. When God saves in righteousness he is always acting in accordance with his role as king and covenant member. David, a beneficiary of God’s covenant love comments on what it means to him.

7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God!

The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

8 They feast on the abundance of your house,

and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

9 For with you is the fountain of life;

in your light do we see light. (Ps 36.7-9)

David has a deep appreciation for the LORD’s care. More than most people he acknowledges it. Its easy to neglect or overlook. Perhaps he does so more than we do or should. David sees the LORD not only looking after him, but all who take refuge in him. To take refuge in the LORD means to come to him for protection and care. How do you think this looks like in our lives? In the Psalm David has contrasted the wicked who have no fear of the LORD and those who take refuge in him and enjoy his covenant love.

10 Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,

and your righteousness to the upright of heart!

11 Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,

nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.

12 There the evildoers lie fallen;

they are thrust down, unable to rise. (Ps 36.10-12)

David asks the LORD to continue loving him and his people and being righteous. To be righteous means the LORD must care for his people, save them from the wicked and judge the wicked. His people are described as those who are upright in heart. David warns against arrogance. That is having a proud spirit that leads to sin. He also asks for protection against the wicked. He knows how they will end up.

Story of Jesus

The Psalm compares the perspective of the wicked from those who take refuge in the LORD. Its easy for those who are faced with day to day troubles like we all do to lose focus on God’s love and faithfulness to his people. The wicked ignore God and lie in bed plotting trouble. We on the other hand need to keep remembering God lovingly provides for his covenant people. Jesus said;

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Lk 12:22–34)

Remember the LORD every day and put him first. He is looking after you.

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