Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – B

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.

In our last post, we looked at the first two verses, and it didn’t look good. I mean, the trend of this wicked man was downward from the get go!

Let’s hope for the best, but I’m gonna warn ya. Our next two verses do not provide much hope!


The very words that come out of our mouth are described as “trouble”. Deceit I get, I understand the lying tongue, my goodness I get it! But the psalmist states that the wicked man’s very words are trouble.

And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad.

Psalm 41:6 ESV

This term can be translated in a number of ways, including “emptiness” or “a vanity of words”. This may be emphasizing a hollowness of communication, but shouldn’t be considered a neutral condition that we may consider allowable. Vanity is often associated with idol worship, and we know God’s attitude towards idols!

Let us not speak vain or empty words. Empty words are definitely not associated with righteous activity, with loving actions or a spirit of mercy!

A Change of Behavior

The psalmist now describes the wicked man’s actions, his doings, his outward appearance and behavior. It is interesting that the wicked man ceases to act wisely. Does this imply that the wicked man acted wisely in the past? Was this wicked man of a better ilk in the past, of some better character prior to his listening to transgression, prior to his self flattery?

Was this wicked one of a better ilk in the past, of some better character prior to his listening to transgression, prior to his self flattery?

I heard a philosopher speak of the necessity of time in relation to our existence, and that time allows for change. Time allows for change. Change that occurs as either growth or decay.

This wicked man is decaying, rotting on the vine, becoming less as time passes, by listening to transgression, by avoiding the fear of God, by elevating his own self importance before his eyes. The decay is becoming evident to those around him by his behavior.

He begins to stop acting wisely and to stop doing good. But this is simply a point in time, a fraction of a moment, when the direction of his life is determined. To stop doing good and think we can remain neutral is a fallacy.

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. – Luk 11:23 ESV

We are either with God or against God. There is no middle ground, and that is why I am stating that this stopping of doing good occurs in a mere fraction of a moment, since this state of neutrality can not be maintained.

A Leader of Wickedness

This man of wickedness now blooms into a leader of wickedness. He plots his day while others sleep, spending time on how to attain his goals. He is consumed with his thoughts of greatness, and he has no one to guide him, or to caution him, since the fear of God has been ignored, even silenced to his ears.

He establishes himself in a path that is not good. The term speaks of a steadfastness, a withstanding or refusal to be moved. He has chosen to be in a path that is not good, and his very intent is to remain in this path.

To be in a path that is not good, he eventually must lay his defenses down. He does not reject evil. He may have rejected evil before, but I tend to think this is simply the decay settling into his person, a strength of resistance simply not available to this man.

Story time

My wife and I went walking last night on our favorite path, lined with massive trees, bushes and grasses. It so happened that one of the tress we enjoyed last year had fallen, now on its side, with the trunk completely broken. No saw had come upon the tree. No – it had decayed from the inside out and the strength of the trunk had disappeared. Last year it appeared strong. One swift wind, and its inner lack of strength gave way to the wind. The tree is down.

Such is the life of the wicked man. Early listening to transgression, denial of the fear of God, speaking lies to his self in the form of self flattery, becoming “neutral” towards truth and finally setting himself in a bad path. Finally there is no resistance to evil.

I find it interesting that when the psalmist describes this man, he refers to an absence of good. Not until the fourth verse, does he use the term evil. Yes, iniquity is referred to, but that it cannot be found in the wicked man’s own eyes. I also admit trouble and deceit are spoken of as coming of his mouth. This is the beginning of the wicked mans inward decay being exposed to those around him.

This is our condition. Or should I say this is our condition, our eventual destination if it were not for the steadfast love of God. He is the Savior, the Deliverer and the One who brings us back from the edge.

I am very much looking forward to the psalmists descriptions turning from the wicked man to the righteous God. For He is good, and we certainly need Him!

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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