How do you see the wicked?


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.
Psalm 36:1-2 (NIV)

Read: Psalm 36:1-12

Consider: Today’s reading in Psalm 36 contains details of two contrasting lives: those who reject God and those who know the Lord.  The first eight verses of the psalm split into:

  • the life of the wicked (36:1-4);
  • reflecting on God’s attributes (36:5-8).

The psalmist starts by saying that his messages is ‘… from God … concerning the sinfulness of the wicked’ (36:1a).  The first observation is that with 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’ (36:1b-2).  This is true of many people; they live their life with no knowledge or regard for God and have no perception of their own sinfulness.  The psalmist tells us that during waking hours their words and deeds are wicked and deceitful.  Even when they should be resting, the wicked plot evil and commit themselves to courses of action that are sinful.

Those of us who have committed ourselves to Christ will readily admit that before we came to faith we had little, if any, perception of our own sinfulness.  Nor did we have an awareness of the consequences of sin and our need for salvation.  The psalmist’s summary of the wicked is unpleasant for anyone to hear.  Until a person realises that they are a sinner in need of salvation, they will continue to live as they do.

In Matthew’s gospel we read of Jesus saying: Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7:13-14).  In this illustration Jesus is pointing out that the numbers of those who have faith in God will be greatly outnumbered by those who reject him.  This is not what God wants, but it is the outcome of a life lived for self.

The next four verses of the psalm reflect on the attributes of God.  The psalmist speaks of God’s love, faithfulness, righteousness and justice.  He speaks of the extent of these attributes as: ‘… reaching the heavens …’, ‘… like the highest mountains …’ and ‘… like the great deep …’ (36:5-6).  The words ‘How priceless is your unfailing love, O God’ (36:7) speak of God’s desire to offer the gift of salvation to anyone who will accept it.  The apostle Peter puts it this way in his second letter: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). 

The apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians (2:1-5) tells us that while everyone is ‘deserving of death’, it is only by God’s grace that we have come to know and understand that we faced God’s wrath and have accepted his free gift of salvation in Jesus.  This is what Paul writes: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:1-5).

When you read Psalm 36, do you feel that the wicked will get what they deserve?  Instead it should make you want to praise God, knowing that if it were not for his grace you would still be counted among the wicked.

Pray:  Father, when we read of the wicked, keep us from being judgemental and self-righteous.  We praise and thank you for your grace poured out on us and through which we came to know and accept your Son, Jesus Christ, as our Saviour.  Amen

Every blessing


© 2021

Author: profsloan

The purpose of this blog is to encourage others to read the Bible daily and to grow in Christ. Each day I will generally publish a devotional or a reading for the day, together with a prayer.

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