Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – E

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

7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.

God’s Goodness to His Own People

David now breaks forth with the experience of the saint, the one who knows the steadfast love of the Lord, and how precious this love is to the saint. The earlier verses described a state that creation existing in, and yet did not appreciate the love of the Lord, those who did not understand or accept this love.

David now speaks of those who have come into covenant with the Lord, whose steadfast love is a constant in their lives. How precious this love is.

Precious

This particular word David uses (yāqār), refers to something that is rare or costly. Let’s consider what David may be saying.

Rare

The first time this word shows up is in 1 Samuel 3:1, where the word of the Lord is described as rare.

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. – 1Sa 3:1 ESV

Is David seeking to inform us that the lovingkindness of the Lord is “rare”?

In the time of Eli, the word of the LORD was precious / rare, in that it was uncommon, not a recurring, consistent occurrence. No word of the LORD had been given to man for quite a while, as a matter of fact for decades, and it was precious or rare. To be precious does have a component of rarity, but I see this rarity in that the love of God is of a completely different quality than that of any other love.

God’s lovingkindness is not rare or precious simply because it appears unavailable. This is the result of our blindness and rejection. No, the lovingkindness of the Lord is bountiful. The very next two verses in our psalm speak of the abundance of a feast, and of drinking from a river. These are not descriptions of scarcity!

Costly

This same word that David uses in describing the lovingkindness of God in Psalm 36, is also used of Solomon’s palace foundations. The foundations of the palace were costly stone.

The foundation was of costly stones, huge stones, stones of eight and ten cubits. And above were costly stones, cut according to measurement, and cedar. – 1Kings 7:10-11 ESV

So what is David trying to communicate to us? The steadfast love of the Lord is precious, (of a different quality) and costly.

Costly. To be expensive. The lovingkindness of the Lord is costly, but to whom is the cost associated. During the time of David, for the Lord to provide guidance or protection, cost Him. His honor and glory were often dragged through the mud in being associated with the nation of Israel, and with the occasional actions of His greatest saints. He is a God who stoops down to His creation, who associates with the lowly and poor, who exercises a patience and care for His people that we do not understand or often consider.

Of course the saint, as a beggar looking to the Master, could claim a cost in exercising patience for the Lord’s assistance, but we often forget that any assistance is an act of love toward us. Maybe the saint could claim a cost related to discipleship. This is and always will be a reality. This may be an accurate statement, but I’m not sure this is where David is going.

The cost associated with the lovingkindness of the Lord is the cost that the one who loves pays. For the Lord of glory to humble Himself for a small nation in the middle of three continents, with a young shepherd boy raised to King, and promised an never ending dynasty. This is a costly love committing to a young shepherd boy, whose children would eventually commit acts so vile that the kingdom would be lost, and one of those children would be born in a nation under the thumb of Rome, in a manger, with a cross in His path.

Let us remember the preciousness of the love of God, of the quality of the love He has for us, and the cost He paid to flood our lives with His lovingkindness. Let us not consider our cost to high, for if we do, it may be that we have forgotten of the preciousness of the love of God. His love is of a completely different character than our understanding of love, and the cost of His love was His very life.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!


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