Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – F

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

10 Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
11 Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the evildoers lie fallen; they are thrust down, unable to rise.

David breaks forth in prayer. He is walking in the steadfast lovingkindness of the Lord, and is asking for a continuance of this love for the ones who know Him.

To ask God to “continue” His steadfast love is to ask God to “stretch it out”, or to lengthen out this steadfast love David experienced. And yet the psalmist, David himself, speaks of the steadfast love of the Lord as being from everlasting to everlasting in Psalm 103:17.

But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, – Psalm 103:17 ESV

Here we see a glimpse of a saint praying for something that is a reality. David is praying for the extension of the Lord’s steadfast love into the future in our verse above, and yet in the 103rd psalm, David teaches us that the same steadfast love is constantly on those who fear Him. Is this some sort of contradiction?

Lets read the two passages side by side and consider the message of both.

Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you… Psalm 36:10

But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him… Psalm 103:17

This “contradiction” disappears in the careful reading of the two texts, as it often is true of apparent contradictions in the Word. Notice that David is praying in Psalm 36:10 for the experience of the steadfast love of the Lord to be stretched out, to continue with the saint who knows the Lord, who is in relationship with the Alpha and Omega.

In Psalm 103:17, David is stating a fact of the steadfast love of the Lord as being “on” the saint. Experience of the saint is not considered in this verse, simply a statement, awesome as it is, of the constant, continual truth of the love of God towards those who fear Him. The lovingkindness of the Lord is on those who fear Him. A fact we can depend on, believe in, find comfort with, even if may not be experiencing the steadfast love of the Lord.

And yet we sometimes (often?) find that our thinking of the lovingkindness of the Lord is distorted, somewhat stilted or twisted. Sometimes, in our “fear of the Lord”, we see Him as One who “lords it over us”, who is scary, somewhat unapproachable, far far away, and even dangerous.

But if I am reading David’s prayer of the 36th psalm correctly, this experience of the steadfast love of the Lord must be a pleasurable, fulfilling, desirable, enticing experience. Else why would he beg for the continuance? And this continuance of the experience of the steadfast love of the Lord is the subject of his prayer, he is seeking to continue to experience this love in his life.

Fear and love, both combined in our experience with the Lord. Fear of the Lord and the steadfast love of the Lord. The fact of His continual love and the desire for the continuance of experiencing His love.

What is missing in my thinking? We all know that our experience and the truth may be completely at odds with each other. I think this is the issue I am considering. Many of my times of living in fear has taught me that it is often not based in truth. I recently posted a time in my life of learning this relationship of fear and truth in Let Me Tell You a Story – Horsehair. In this experience, a single lie settled in my thinking and controlled my thoughts for weeks!

To experience the steadfast love of the Lord is dependent on truth. Imagination, group think, logic and reasoning on their own may only cripple us regarding God and His ways with us. For us to continue to experience the steadfast love of God requires our fear to drive us to truth, to the Word where we find One who approached us, entered a dangerous condition, suffered through terrors, fears and torture, offered up His very life and finally died a cruel death on a bloody cross.

His is the life that had the steadfast continual love of the Lord on Him. He feared the Lord, and the Lord’s love was on Him. He trusted in this truth, even when the experience was excruciating, dealing a death blow to His life.

As we walk this pilgrim way, we need to remember this double pronged truth. Truth that the steadfast love of the Lord is on those who fear Him, and of our need of prayer to experience His love, to be controlled, filled and rejoicing in His love.

He is good.

Let us remember He is a completely different type of love than we naturally understand.


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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.