Monday, 9 December 2013

Psalm 36 - The Righteous One looking up to the God of grace from amid a world lying in wickedness.

He whom the Holy Spirit employs to write in these strains of elevated thought and intense feeling, is not ashamed of his God. It is David; and as in Psalm 18:1, so here he describes himself as "Servant of the LORD."

Perhaps it was especially appropriate to use this designation in a Psalm that shows us so fully the apostasy of people in a world of rebellion. David glories in being "Servant" to Him whom people desert and despise.

Like Balaam (Numbers 24:3) speaking the Lord's name to Balak, so the Psalmist, in a kind of irony, represents "transgression" as uttering its oracle to the wicked. The first verse reads:

"Transgression utters its oracle to the wicked! (i.e. my heart thus apprehends their meaning.)
There is no fear of God before his eyes"

And then he states seven features of the man who has no fear of God. All this prepares the way for the contrast, the LORD's character and thoughts toward us, verses 5-9.

Nor is he done til he has shown us the Fountain of life, surrounded by the redeemed, and then pointed to the ruin of the lost, "See they are fallen!" (v12), scenes that carry us forward to the Great day and its effects.

What a Psalm this is! David, and David's Son, and every member of the household of faith, must always have found it congenial' it is such a picture of earth, and such a glimpse of Godhead-glory and grace.

It suggests the deliverance of all creation, "man and beast", and streams of bliss in reserve for us. It abounds in allusions to Old Testament history - allusions that make it more fragrant and savoury; as when verse 7 sings of the LORD's care of "man and beast" and so calling up before us the ark of Noah, and the rainbow that spanned it after the flood; or when v8 sings of "the river" as if to remind us of the streams that watered Eden, a river of your pleasure. Or when "the fountain" is spoken of, as if to send our thoughts to Deut 30:20, Israel's fountain.

It is such a song of Zion as can be appreciated only by meditation deep and frequent - such solemn meditation as will try to gaze upon those heavens (v5), in which mercy dwells; penetrate those clouds in which faithfulness is hid; climb and explore the massy mountain heights of justice (hills of God, worthy of his greatness, glorious and immense); cast the line into the fathomless deep of his judgements (i.e. his providential dealings); and feel drawn by the grace which leads men to the shade of the Almighty's wings, and then to the rivers of pleasure which flow from the fountain of life.

If asked to describe what we see in this Psalm, we would say, we see here The Righteous One looking up to the God of grace from amid a world lying in wickedness.

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