Scripture

Psalm 36

I have a message from God in my heart
    concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God
    before their eyes.

In their own eyes they flatter themselves
    too much to detect or hate their sin.
The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
    they fail to act wisely or do good.
Even on their beds they plot evil;
    they commit themselves to a sinful course
    and do not reject what is wrong.

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
    your justice like the great deep.
    You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
    you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light.

10 Continue your love to those who know you,
    your righteousness to the upright in heart.
11 May the foot of the proud not come against me,
    nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 See how the evildoers lie fallen—
    thrown down, not able to rise!

Reflection

This Psalm points to the danger of a self-centered faith. The writer offers two contrasting ways of living. In Verses 1-4 we see the ways of the “wicked.” It paints a picture of what may drive a person to sin. This person fails to have any respect for God, doing what is right, or wisdom. They “flatter themselves too much.” While it sounds harsh, and most of us might think we are far from this “wicked” description, I think it may come closer to our nature than we would like to think. It seems to be a description of someone who relies on his/her own ability, skill and strength to navigate everyday life. This person thinks he/she has it all figured out and does not need the help of God. I know I have lived many days like this. Oh sure, I know I need God, but I often forget this, especially in areas of giftedness or realms where I feel capable. I can easily lose sight of my relational dependence on God.

 

Verses 5-9 paint a magnificent picture of life with God. We see the attributes of God manifested in limitless qualities. The focus is on the good of creation, not the self, as in verses 1-4. Verses 8-9 illuminate the extravagant abundance available to all who take refuge in God. While the wicked is about self and sin, the life with God is about life, love, and abundance.

 

In what way of living do you find yourself? Are you seeking refuge in yourself or in God?

Prayer

Dear Lord, teach me to hear, lead me to see and guide me to heed your words. Let these words from the Psalms infuse my soul. I trust you, Oh Holy One. I submit fully to your will for my life. Lead me on the path of righteousness and forgive me for the ways may I fail. May your grace be born anew for me each day. Amen.