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.
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.
In our last post, I veered from the specific passage above in discussing a topic brought to mind by the verses above, and that I find I am coming back to often in my thinking.
I would like to consider these verse with the approach spoken of in our previous post (Psalm 36 – Introduction). We are sinners. Yes, we have been granted the righteousness of Christ, but we live below, and David is describing the wicked man in the verses above. As mentioned earlier, we shall find good counsel in understanding this description of the wicked man as a description of our own condition while we walk with Him during our pilgrimage.
Let’s consider David’s description of the wicked man, the man we are if we are honest with ourselves, the man we are without the grace of God being shed abroad in our lives.
Transgression speaks to the heart
Even as I sit here and consider this passage, I am reluctant to admit of the times I listen to sin speaking to my heart. Do not get me wrong, I understand that the sin thoughts are not necessarily sourced in my own soul, but the fact that I listen to them is the shame I experience. Oh to be willing to turn a deaf ear to the whispers I hear in my heart. Deep in my heart, where there is more mystery than understanding, transgression speaks to me.
Transgression utters, or declares to my heart, and gains a foothold when there is no fear of God before my eyes. This term “speaks” is interesting since it is used of God speaking in many passages of the Old Testament. Now before any one tries to condemn me for associating sin with God, that is not my intent. My intent is only to notice that “speaks” is commonly used to describe a message that is “spirit” and we know that by study and experience, this includes spirits that are not of God.
No fear of God
Transgression gains a foothold in the wicked because there is no fear of God before our eyes. Transgression may “utter” all day long, and with no fear of God, will gain that foothold and progress into a growing struggle with sin. This we all can attest to and suffer under!
The fear of God. Many who read this blog may know that I spent years under the fear of God – no wait – let me correct myself – more specifically under the fear of the judgement of God. There is a tremendous difference. The fear of God, in my understanding now, is to know the living God, the fountainhead of knowledge, wisdom confidence and life.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Pro 1:7 ESV
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. – Pro 9:10 ESV
The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short. – Pro 10:27 ESV
In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. – Pro 14:26 ESV
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. – Pro 14:27 ESV
Do not believe the lies spouted by many that the fear of God produces a sour spirit. The fear of the Lord is a wellspring of life.
He flatters himself! But this isn’t the boastful arrogance of a loud and proud man speaking of his greatness. No no no. This refers to the quiet ruminations within himself, of his discussions with himself, where he is telling himself how great he is! And who is to argue, if the fear of God is now a distant influence!
Pride of self, a self inflicted perception of ourselves that we are better than we truly are. We flatter ourselves. To flatter is “to praise excessively from motives of self interest” This must be recognized as being so out of touch with the nature of God as to be obvious.
Is self flattery of the character of our God…
who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:6-8 ESV
This too seems so obvious, if we are honest with ourselves. How often have you considered yourself better than your neighbor, your boss, your friend or your spouse? Paul addressed this danger amongst leaders, even apostles within the Corinthian church.
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. – 2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV
Even those who may consider themselves to have low self esteem, flatter themselves with their weakness, in their standing in comparison with the appearance of others, their lack of confidence, of their inabilities, or a host of other characteristics that they use to draw attention to themselves.
We are to consider ourselves with sober judgement.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3
Was it Spurgeon or some other saint who said that the believer was not to attain to a high self esteem, nor a low self esteem, but of no self esteem.
God is to be the only One we are to esteem. Consider the wise, mighty and rich in Jeremiah 9. They had attained. But they were instructed not to esteem their own selves but the LORD who practices love justice and righteousness in the earth!!! (By the way – we don’t practice love justice and righteousness!)
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” – Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV
Let us break for now and continue with the next two verses of this passage in our next post. Suffice it to say, the first two verses do not offer much hope to the wicked man. And in our next post, verses 3 & 4 will only expose more difficulty and trouble, problems and traps.
Who is able to rescue me? Who can deliver me from this awful condition!
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.