Psalm 36: Praise to Our Faithful, Just, and Loving God

Woman looking at the heavens

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.

Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.
May the foot of the proud not come against me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
See how the evildoers lie fallen—
thrown down, not able to rise!
— Psalm 36:1-12

In the midst of decrying Judah’s sin, the prophet Jeremiah made this observation: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9). The opening section of Psalm 36 helps readers further understand this universal condition with a blunt description of the wickedness that resides in the hearts of unbelievers and the subsequent sin that results from rejecting their Creator.

Left to ourselves, we gravitate away from the Lord and toward an arrogant and destructive sense of ambivalence toward spiritual truth, which leads to self-deceit, evil and, ultimately, the willful rejection of all that is good (Psalm 36:1–4).

But God Is Good

Contrast this desperate state with the righteousness, purity and faithfulness of God.
Struggling to describe divine justice and mercy adequately, the psalmist pointed to the vastness of the heavens, the height of the mountains and the depths of the sea as mere hints of the overwhelming goodness and love of the Almighty (Psalm 36:5–7). In light of his grasp of God’s holiness and its vast difference from humanity’s fallen condition, the psalmist made an impassioned plea to the Lord to “continue your love to those who know you” (Psalm 36:10).

Jesus, who is the very image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15), definitively answered the psalmist’s request on behalf of all people by giving his life as a “ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28) so that all who believe “might live through him” (1 John 4:9).

Reflect

Express in your own words the boundless limits of God’s love. Praise and thank him for his love for you.

Article drawn from the The Jesus Bible, NIV Edition.

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