February 07 2023
Today, Tuesday February 07
“There Is No Fear of God”
Psalm 36:1-4 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the Servant of the LORD.
“An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes, When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates. The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; He has ceased to be wise and to do good. He devises wickedness on his bed; He sets himself in a way that is not good; He does not abhor evil.”
Psalm 36 bears the title, "A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord." The only other psalm entitled this way is Psalm 18, written by David when the long, terrible outlaw years had ended. Saul was dead at last and David was free with the kingdom, the power, and the glory before him. We know just when Psalm 18 was written, but by contrast we do not know when Psalm 36 was written.
In this Psalm, David pondered the reality of evil in God's world (vv. 1-4), he praised God's character (vv. 5-9), and then he prayed that God would protect him from evil and eventually judge the wicked. He solved the perplexing problem of evil in the world by being a worshiper, not a philosopher, and by taking personal responsibility to obey God and serve Him. It does no good to only curse the darkness. We need to also turn our attention to the Light and worship. If there were more salt and light in this world, there would be less decay and darkness in society.
So, in these first four verses, David describes both the character and the characteristics of the wicked person. We immediately see that the real issue is the corruption that is in the human Heart (vv. 1-4). Jesus said it this way in Mark 7:14-23, “…Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man…. What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man."
In Psalm 10, the sinner talks to himself, but here sin speaks to the sinner. Sin deceives us (Rom. 7:11) and flatters us (Ps. 10:3; Deut. 29:18-19), giving us the false assurance that our rebellion will go unpunished. Satan told Eve, “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:1-5). The world tells us, "Listen to your heart!", forgetting that "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).
Of course, the sinner's self-confident arrogance brings tragic consequences, starting with an absence of the fear of God (v. 1). This is not the word for the reverential respect of God that all believers should cultivate, but rather the word that means the dread of God and of His judgment. Paul quotes this verse in Romans 3:8, along with others Old Testament statements that reveal the wickedness of the human heart. When we don't fear God, we flatter ourselves, and that flattery gives us more confidence to sin. We don't really see ourselves as the Lord sees us, and we are blind to our own sins and what they can do to us. (On the fear of the Lord, see 34:9; 55:19; 64:4; 111:10; 119:120; Josh. 24:14; Prov. 1:7.) This kind of person doesn't hate sin (v. 2) or despise it or reject it (v. 4) but finds delight in doing it.
When people lose the fear of God, they start to lose everything else that is important to good character and conduct. Out of a sinful heart come sinful words and sinful deeds (v. 3). Instead of acting wisely, they set themselves and are determined to do evil. They don't meditate on God's truth while in bed (Psalm 1:2; 16:7; 42:8; 63:6) but devise evil schemes. They can't relax and go to sleep until they've hatched a new plot (Mic. 2:1). The corrupt heart has produced a defiled conscience, a confused mind, and a perverted will (Romans 1:21-32).
Goodness, we live in a godless culture and in a day when we see exactly what David is describing here. There is no fear of the consequences of our sinful, evil and wicked deeds. Isaiah said that when a nation forgets God that it will call good evil, and call evil good (Isaiah 5:20-21). When there is no fear of God, it is set in the hearts of men to do evil because sin first blinds but then it binds! We become slaves to our own sins! And Proverbs 4:19 reminds us that the “wicked walk in darkness and know not at what they stumble”.
May the Lord help us today to be light in this dark world!