Psalm 36: When you’re against or for God. David describes the decision on whether you’re against or for God as a matter of the heart. And he explains its impact on a person. Here are some thoughts on what Psalm 36 teaches us today.
Psalm 36: When you’re against or for God. When you’re against God, pride is a destructive, blinding force in your life.
In V.1-4, David describes a heart that rejects God by focusing on three words. First is the Hebrew word for transgression in V.1 which is “pesha.” It is also translated trespass and rebellion and means a conscious, willful rebellion against something. David means those who willfully disobey God’s moral laws.
Secondly, the Hebrew word in V.1 for fear is “pachad” and means a sense of terror or dread regarding your personal safety. In other words, it’s normal for us to have a healthy fear of an all powerful God. But the transgressor David describes has no such fear. Instead, he flatters himself and arrogantly makes plans against God’s law.
Thirdly, the word Iniquity in V.2 is the Hebrew word “Avon.” It means “to bend, twist, and distort.” Although a different definition than transgression, it makes a similar point. David means to bend, twist, or distort the law of God’s Word to a degree worthy of punishment.
Finally, David points out the deceptive nature of pride that the transgressor is completely blind to in his life. And boastfully embraces a rebellious lifestyle. It is a heart that rejects God and his ways in order to please itself.
Psalm 36: When you’re against or for God. David presents a more complete picture of God.
In V.5-6, David presents a more complete picture of God by listing four of his attributes:
- Steadfast love extends to the heaven
- Faithfulness to the clouds
- Righteousness like the mountains of God
- Judgments like the great deep
We celebrate God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. Acknowledge his righteousness. But balk big time when it comes to his judgments. Why? Because we understand what it means from our own judicial system. It is a reckoning. Consequences coming due. Wrongdoers get what’s coming to them. And punishment is dispensed.
And while we all inherently desire justice, when it comes to our own own willful transgressions against God’s moral law, we look for loopholes. Surely a loving God wouldn’t send anyone to a fiery hell for all eternity.
But a just God can’t simply look the other way. Because he is equally just as he is faithful, righteous, and love. And that justice must be satisfied. So what’s the solution?
And the answer is, God sent Jesus Christ to die in our place. Jesus was God’s gift love that satisfied the requirement of justice. But you must claim the gift by seeking forgiveness from and following Jesus. Which leads right back to the choice of rebellion or submission.
Psalm 36: When you’re against or for God. There is life, light, and refuge for those who follow him.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. (ESV Psalm 36:9)
In V.7-9, David celebrates God’s love. But even more, he delights in God as a fountain of life, source of light, and place of refuge. David understood this more than anyone since he was guilty of both adultery and murder.
But he confessed his guilt. Repented of his transgressions. Sought and experienced God’s forgiveness. And now celebrated the freedom of forgiveness. No wonder he delighted in God!
Followers of Jesus today can experience this same delight and access to light, life, and refuge. Although complete protection is not guaranteed on earth. Jesus taught his followers they would face persecution and death for his sake. But an eternal refuge awaited.
When you’re against or for God. God thrusts you down or lifts you up
David ends with praise in V.10-12 and asks God to guard his heart from pride and from following a path of wickedness. He recognizes that pleasing God involves pursuing righteousness. But it’s a path full of sinful sinkholes that drag you down. Especially pride. So he seeks God’s guidance for the journey.
And this is the way for followers of Jesus today. To pursue God’s righteousness wholeheartedly, but with humility. For temptation and sin surround us. So we must walk by faith, the power of God’s Spirit, and in a community of other believers.
While the final fate of transgressors is determined. Thrust down and unable to rise. Tripped up by spiritual blindness to their own rebellious hearts.