Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – Introduction

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 36

1 To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD.

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.

The wickedness of man and the goodness of God.

This psalm magnifies the differences between our existence and the character of our God. For the first four verses, David dwells on the wicked man. As I read passages such as open this passage, where the Old Testament speaks of a “bad” fellow, I am reminded of an old pastor who focused my thoughts on identifying with the bad guy in the story.

We so often want to associate with the godly, the righteous and the beautiful (at least I do), that we often miss the truth the Word is trying to provide. Without continuously acknowledging our sinful tendencies, habits, actions, thoughts, and motives, we tend to “join the righteous” in righteously excusing our “trip ups” and condemning those sinners, and in our effort to look good, we become hypocrites in the eyes of many! This should not be so!

This concept reminds me of a time, very early in my faith, when I sought the Lord and found only sin. Everywhere in my experience, I found rebellion, acts of sin, transgression and failings. I so wanted to be close to God and to love the Lord Jesus, and yet found sin. I confessed this to a believer, and he simply stated that when we press in, the light of God exposes our nature. Get used to it!

Humility and a consciousness of our “self” is the result of facing the One who is truth. Is this not the experience of those we read of in the Old Testament.

Consider Isaiah

And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” – Isaiah 6:5 ESV

Or Ezekiel

Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. – Ezekiel 1:28 ESV

David often confesses his sin, acknowledging his failings.

I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah – Psa 32:5 ESV

Daniel joins in the confession of his nation’s sin

We have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules Dan 9:5 ESV

You may be reminded of other instances in the Old Testament where a saint, in seeing the Lord not only glorifies the One above, but reduces his own standing in his own eyes. (Somewhat of a difficult verse for the self esteem movement!)

Consider Job

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” – Job 42:5-6 ESV

The New Testament continues with this witness.

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” – Luke 5:8 ESV

Paul was knocked down before he was called.

Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. – Act 9:3-5 ESV

Paul even spoke, as an old man of God, of his being (not was) the chief of sinners, the foremost of sinners.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. – 1 Timothy 1:15 ESV

Oh the tension we find in our seeking of the truth. We have been provided the righteousness of Christ through faith in our Savior and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, and yet our sinful tendencies are ever before us. That “wicked man” that we drag behind us, constantly seeks to pull us down. Ignoring or avoiding this truth will not benefit our souls. As my favorite wifey reminds me at times….

But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out. – Numbers 32:23 ESV

The battle is real my friends. The war has been won, but we each have battles to fight. In all of this discussion, a sense of humility and a consciousness of our wickedness needs to be ever before our eyes. But in the very moment I speak of this, let it be understood that there is a danger of only acknowledging our sin. We cannot lay in the cesspool of our needs, and not be looking off to the great and mighty Jesus.

As Paul reminded the sin laden Corinthians, we need to remember the nature of our God, and of His forgiving nature, His nature of comfort, and of His continual love toward those who fall. Paul directed the believers to mimic God’s nature in the following passage when confronting a condemned believer, that they

… should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. – 2 Corinthians 2:7-8 ESV

We are to live in the truth, and that includes acknowledging to ourselves and our Father, our weakness, sin tendencies and failings. This is a bitter pill to swallow but this truth will produce within us a humility greatly needed within the church today.

And we are to rejoice in the salvation our great God has provided. A salvation that delivers us from past guilt, current sin and a future of release from the presence of sin.

He is good.

Consider where you stand, lest you fall!


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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