It’s Night and Day

Psalm 36

The psalm consists of three distinguishable parts: a strong description of ‘human depravity; the excellence of God; a prayer to be delivered firom the first, and made a partaker of the second, with a strong assurance that prayer will be answered.

A. corruption of the wicked v.1-4

rebellious to the core – “No Fear” (1)

God is irrelevant – may give lip service to name of God, but… from their perspective God has no influence

more than just no fear, no influence; no thought of God. Total consciousness devoted to temporal issues, things of world

if acknowledged at all, merely as “sugar daddy” – if I ask, he has to give; if enough people ask, he has no choice

often refuse to give more than passing thought to ultimate issues of what comes next – denial @ death

consider alternative: if there is a God and he’s relevant, then… boundaries, accountability, expectations

makes himself the standard (2)

God’s rules are irrelevant, and fwiw, so anyone else’s

only follows someone else’s rules when he agrees with them

when he disagrees, flatters himself that he can explain / justify his actions if necessary

Satan’s incitement in Garden was to rebellion against all authority, to enthronement of self as sole arbiter

means there’s no need for external authority – simple assertions make it so: “if I say so,…”

extends from big stuff – creation/evolution – to small stuff – who started the fight

autonomy promises greatest freedom, reward – reality is it’s the greatest bondage: to sin and self and Satan; it’s a big job to be God

becomes increasingly “outrageous (3)

talks bad and does bad, especially with respect to God

starts small – naughty word and covert look around; no lightning; next something a little stronger, still no lightning; and so it goes

ends up at most public and outrageous: Christopher Hitchens, Kim Il Sung – “there is no God” at one end, “I am god” at the other

in the process, thoughts and actions become more risky and farther from God’s standard of right / good

and self-destructive (4)

continual conceited conniving – actions that destroy self and others

what kinds of behaviors: 1 Tim. 1:9-10 (NLT) …lawless and rebellious, …ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy (Sunday sports, etc.), who kill their father or mother or commit other murders (Newtown, CT). …sexually immoral (Kennebunkport), …homosexuality (question 1), or are slave traders (human trafficking), liars (Mr. Corsetti), promise breakers (many public officials)

one who ends up here began with broadly accepted and acceptable rejection of fear of God; then step by step proceeded on downward spiral to total destruction

Remember: unbelievers we know who don’t exactly fit the profile, who haven’t descended to extreme depths – it’s only because of God’s restraining hand. No one still dead in sin lacks the potential; only lacks sufficient incentive and opportunity. That the unregenerate should behave in those ways ought not surprise us: it’s their nature, thanks to the Fall and sin.

Remember also: God by his grace can change wicked sinner into faithful servant; he has, does, will continue to do so.

B. comfort in God’s character v.5-9

may seem there is no limit to evil sinful men will devise; there truly is no limit to goodness of God. Most clearly seen by contrast – numerous things we understand about God by learning what he is not.

isn’t a point-by-point comparison, rather a package deal: fallen mankind’s wickedness contrasted with God’s goodness – it really is night and day

important: note abrupt change of focus from evildoers to God – “After having spoken of the very great depravity of men, the prophet, afraid lest he should become infected by it, or be carried away by the example of the wicked, as by a flood, quits the subject, and recovers himself by reflecting on a different theme.” Calvin

the sky’s the limit for Your lovingkindness and faithfulness (5)

no place where his steadfast love cannot be found, where it is insufficient for the need – like a canopy over all his creatures

his faithfulness not like man’s – flickering, wavering, temporarily absent, sometimes conditional

faithfully provides for his creatures whether or not they acknowledge him in return

is especially attentive to his children – going above and beyond basic needs, blessing their obedience, keeping all his promises

no question/scenario can stump You (6)

in every situation knows full truth, knows what is right, does what is just, that’s the fact

has given all his people need to know in his Word

means regardless of how it looks to us, God will do right in time and eternity

Your lovingkindness is precious and priceless (7a)

same word as v.5, 10 – chêsêd – mercy, lovingkindness, steadfast/covenant love

intensely relational – particular loving attention and provision directed to those who are his

out of God’s attributes – incommunicable (self-existence, immutability, perfection, eternity, immensity) and communicable (knowledge, wisdom, goodness, love, holiness, righteousness, truth, sovereignty) – one he puts in front: love

“God is love” 1 John 4:8, 16; “herein is love…” 1 John 4:10

place of security (7b)

because of lovingkindness that his children have desire, courage, confidence to seek refuge in him

if he didn’t love, wouldn’t want to get close; wouldn’t have courage to approach; wouldn’t have confidence of positive reception

his lovingkindness when recognized / accepted / appreciated prompts love in return: we love him… 1 John 4:19

no limit to Your provision (8a)

those who leave God’s table hungry or thirsty have only themselves to blame

foremost in view are spiritual blessings; “fullness of Your house“, the place where God set his name

does not exclude material ones, though Mal. 3:10

no end to Your pleasures – Eden (8b)

constantly being refreshed – same river, different water

important note: provision and pleasure tied to “Your house” – context of worship, both tabernacle/temple & Garden

if Eden prefigured paradise/heaven, then abundant blessing and pleasure await in next life

no surprise given promise – Eph. 1:3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”

You are source of life and light (9)

light most glorious and welcome when surrounded by profound darkness

“The deepest teachings of the Apostle John lie folded in this marvellous verse as the forest in the acorn. (John 1:1-16; 1 John 1:1-7)” F B Meyer

God is essentially Life and Light. He “has life in himself”. (Joh 5:26) He “is Light, and in him is no darkness at all”. (1Jo 1:5)

C. cry for help v.10-12

don’t stop now (10a)

have experienced wonder of your lovingkindness, can’t bear the thought of living without it

your people are dependent (10b-11)

on your mercy

have no basis for meriting God’s favor; Lam 3:22Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.”

on your deliverance

from those who would attempt to overtake and steer off course, claiming superior knowledge or authority

on your protection

from those who would push into sinful behavior, from temptation to do as wicked because they seem to prosper

we are confident of your help (12)

so confident we can call it a done deal – seeing the ruin of evildoers through eye of faith

assurance of God’s continued lovingkindness, faithfulness to his promises prompts fervent prayer

Two ways of life – way of wicked, way of righteous. Psalmist utterly rejects way of wicked, fully embraces way of righteous and God of that way. Similar theme as Psalm 1 but emphasis/focus here on God of the righteous rather than righteous man himself. Trusts in him fully – for his provision and protection even when future otherwise is uncertain. Determined to live in light of God’s favor, not the night of wickedness. More time spent in light, stronger our revulsion of the dark – spiritually speaking.

Once we’ve experienced his lovingkindness, who in right mind would settle for anything less? Same for shelter found under shadow of his wings – who would ever want to endure onslaught of world without God’s protection? His sheltering care should be place of our continual abiding, by his grace may it be so.


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