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.
The Christmas story satisfies these longings of the heart: the search for significance, the desire for completeness, and the yearning for peace. We ponder these longings, among others, in quiet solitude. And perhaps share intimate thoughts about them with a few close friends. Yet, wonder why they are so scarce in our world today.
Here’s how the Christmas story speaks into them.
The Christmas story satisfies these longings of the heart. Like the search for significance
Does my life matter? How can I make a difference? What is my legacy?
These ultimate questions frequently surface during the Christmas season. Because the Christmas story is about ultimate meaning. It’s a time of warmth and celebration for people surrounded by close friends and families. But lonely and full of despair for others. When you wonder if anyone cares. If there’s any real meaning to life. And contemplate your significance in it.
And the Christmas story shouts, “God cares!”
Because the story is about a God who created you. Who loves you so deeply he came to the rescue in human form. To demonstrate the depths of his love and how you can live a meaningful, abundant life that lasts forever.
The Christmas story satisfies these longings of the heart. Like the desire for completeness
Of course, in honest moments, we acknowledge the brokenness in our world. Broken within each of us. And despite our best efforts, we can’t fix it.
And so perhaps, we avoid thinking about it. Shrug our shoulders and say, “well, nobody’s perfect.” Which is true. Or maybe extol our virtues to make ourselves feel more complete. Still, it’s all woefully inadequate.
But here’s the good news of the Christmas story. Because what is broken is our relationship with God. And the Savior, Christ the Lord, came to restore it. What’s missing within us is His presence. It’s what makes you complete. A gift you simply ask for.
The Christmas story satisfies theses longings of the heart. Like the yearning for peace
The angels announced his arrival by singing, “Peace on earth goodwill toward men.” And yet violence surrounds us. Along with war. Injustice. Rage. And you’re wondering…just where is that peace anyway?
The answer begins with you and me. You see, peace from a Biblical perspective is not simply a lack of conflict. Or achieving inner tranquility through meditation. Peace is represented by a right relationship. First, a right relationship with God. And then others.
And Jesus is the key to that relationship. The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
May these longings be satisfied and your life filled with joy this Christmas season.
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There is a Biblical answer to deep yearnings of the heart. Questions like: Who Am I? Does my life have value? Meaning? And how do I live a purposeful life? And maintain a sense of balance?
Science can’t answer these questions. Searching within yourself doesn’t either. Because you inherently know there is something wrong in the human experience. An essential flaw in every human. And if we are flawed, answers from within are flawed too.
The Bible however, claims to be the word of an absolute God. The creator and sustainer of life. And if this is true then it provides a source of reliable answers. Here are three Biblical answers to deep yearnings in the human heart.
The Biblical Answer to Deep Yearnings Of The Heart About Human Identity Is Divinely Determined
Who am I? What’s my purpose. Where do I find my value?
The Bible clears the confusion with a simple proclamation. Your identity is not FOUND. It is GIVEN. Your value is ascribed, not achieved. Assigned by God. Who created you, loves you and has your best interest in mind.
The Bible teaches that every person is uniquely made by a God that loves you unconditionally.
So you don’t need to search within, accomplish or accumulate anything. These are all things YOU DO. The Bible says simply, it is already DONE. And you don’t need to be anything other than yourself. God says that alone is enough.
By accepting and embracing your individual worth as determined by a God who loves and values you takes the pressure off.
You can be yourself. Exactly as you are. Because you can’t do anything to make God love you more or or anything that makes him love you less. You need only respond to and return His love.
As you live in relationship with an absolute, yet personal God, you understand the truth, and experience freedom.
The Biblical Answer To Deep Yearnings Of The Heart For Purpose is Found In The Kingdom Of God
The Kingdom of God is partly in this world and partly in the next. It begins in this world through a personal faith relationship with Jesus Christ. This is what uniquely distinguishes Christ followers. Who are citizens of the spiritual Kingdom of God. Although the Bible teaches a final, physical Kingdom is still ahead.
That’s why followers of Jesus are told to be “in” this world, but not “of” this world. In others words, our purpose is to live as kingdom residents in this world. To serve and make this world a better place. To feed the poor, tend the sick and love our neighbors as ourselves. But to keep in mind it’s not the end game. To realize our purpose is to represent God’s Kingdom on earth, to the best of our ability, but with the knowledge that ultimately, God will establish a permanent Kingdom.
People that don’t claim Jesus can participate in serving and bettering humanity too. And therefore, share in this sense of purpose. Christ-followers do so specifically in the name of Jesus and for the glory of God.
The Biblical Answer For Achieving Balance Is By Establishing Priorities Rather Than Managing Your Time
Aren’t they one and the same? No. Not really. Most discussions on balance involve time management. Ordering your time will not always order your priorities. But ordering your priorities will always manage your time. If you prioritize spending time with family, you will automatically manage your time to create that margin in your life. And while time management is important in achieving balance, it should not be the main driver.
Want a great template for maintaining a balanced life? Consider this.
Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man (Luke 2:52)
In other words, Jesus developed intellectually, physically, spiritually and socially. He studied the law thoroughly, enjoyed relating to people in social settings, spent time alone in prayer and worked as a carpenter. Oh, and he also walked everywhere he went.
People that live out of balance usually need to address one or two of these areas. I know people that are superbly physical fit, but completely lack a spiritual life. And people that are very spiritual but their physical body is a wreck. And others that invest nothing in their minds outside of work.
I doubt anyone is completely balanced in all four areas. I’m not. But evaluating and adjusting the attention you give to these four areas will head you in the right direction.
There’s one more component not found in that verse, but very much demonstrated in the life of Christ.
What Are You Doing For Others?
Jesus focused on others rather than himself. A life and death of sacrifice. When you live a self-centered life that pursues only self-satisfaction. Your deepest yearnings will never be satisfied. Purpose and meaning will elude you. And so will the Kingdom of God. It’s the key to purpose, meaning, value. And something you can’t buy with all the money in the world. Joy.
You can reclaim your heart for God. Or maybe claim it for the first time. Sure you’ve messed up. We all have. And David who killed Goliath messed up too. Big time. And yet, scripture says David had a heart for God. So if David reclaimed his heart for God, there’s hope for all of us. Here are three steps to reclaim yours.
To Reclaim Your Heart For God You Must Recognize Its Condition
Is man basically good or evil? You can argue it either way, right? There are many examples of both. The Bible, however, simply calls us sinful. In other words, we have the capacity for both good and evil. Isn’t that what we actually see in the world?
Sin is the heart condition that separates us from God. And we all sin. Lying, cheating and stealing are just a few obvious ones. There are many other things we do as well. Also things we say and even think about. Seriously. Do I have to spell them all out for you?
The point is, when you let sin rule your heart, you act in all kinds of…well, sinful ways. But you don’t have to let sin rule. You can invite God’s Spirit to rule instead.
To Reclaim Your Heart For God It Must Be Transformed
It was a time after defeating Goliath that David committed adultery and then committed murder to cover it up. Two more examples of sin. But when confronted with his wrong doing, he confessed his sin and repented before God.
Confession and repentance open the door to transformation. Why? Because when you confess and repent, God forgives. Simple, but not easy. Because confession and repentance require humility.
And that means taking responsibility for your actions, rather than make excuses and blame someone or something else. That’s what David did. And we all have to do too. That’s when your heart is transformed.
Transformation doesn’t happen because of what you do, but what God has done. God’s forgiveness wipes the slate clean. Makes you new from the inside out. Lets you start over. And reclaim your heart for God.
Your Reclaimed Heart Must Be Guarded
When you reclaim your heart for God, it’s not one and done. Because sin is persistent and pervasive. And there’s a spiritual enemy seeking to drag you down. And relentless on his spiritual attacks.
That’s why even though God transforms your heart, it quickly and easily fills back up with sin. And so you must sincerely and regularly repeat the whole confession and repentance process.
You have to guard what you let into your heart. And manage what stays there. Play defense and offense. By also pursuing a life that moves towards God, rather than away.
As you reclaim your heart for God, you also reclaim a life of purpose, meaning and eternal significance.
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