Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 36

As we prepare to enter Jehovah’s house of worship and prayer on this second Lord’s day in June, we set before our minds and hearts the Word of God in Psalm 36. In this concise song of David there is a sharp contrast made between the ways of the wicked and the ways of the Lord toward His children who trust in Him and walk in His ways. Here we find the antithesis so often declared in God’s Word, and especially in the Psalms:

 

The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.

2For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.

3The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.

4He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.

5Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.

6Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.

7How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

8They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.

9For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

10O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart.

11Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me.

12There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.

 

As we get ready to meet the Lord of holiness and righteousness, it is good for us to examine our own hearts and lives in light of this antithesis. How have we conducted ourselves in this past week – like those in verses 1-4, or those in verses 5-10? And what satisfies us, the abundance of sin’s “pleasures”, or the fatness of Father’s house? How thankful we can be that what David declares in v.5-6 is true! That God’s mercy is in the heavens and his faithfulness reaches to the clouds! For we are sinners, who even as God’s children have sinned against God, against grace, against all His goodness to us! So that we too deserve what the wicked receive – to be cast down and not be able to get up, v.12. The difference is that, unlike the wicked, we have the fear of God in our hearts and we abhor our sin, vss.1,2. Not because of any special gift or strength we have in ourselves, but because God showed us His grace and mercy in Jesus Christ, v.7. It was in His light that we saw light, v.9.

 

And it still is that way. Therefore as we worship today, let us come repenting of our sins, trusting under the shadow of God’s wings of mercy, hungering for the fatness of His house, and standing in His light in Christ. Then we shall have the light of salvation and the satisfaction of His fellowship with us.

 

And here is J.Calvin on v.8:

8. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of that house. I have no doubt that by the fatness of God’s house the prophet means the abundance of good things which is not designed for all men indiscriminately, but is laid up in store for the children of God who commit themselves wholly to his protection. Some restrict the expression to spiritual graces; but to me it seems more likely, that under it are comprehended all the blessings that are necessary to the happiness and comfort of the present life, as well as those which pertain to eternal and heavenly blessedness. It ought, however, to be observed, that in the style of speaking which the prophet here employs, the use of earthly blessings is connected with the gracious experience of faith, in the exercise of which we can alone enjoy them rightfully and lawfully to our own welfare. When the ungodly glut themselves with the abundance of God’s benefits, their bodies indeed grow fat like the flesh of cattle or swine, but their souls are always empty and famished. It is the faithful alone, as I have said, who are satisfied with the goodness of God towards them, because it is to them a pledge of his fatherly love. The expression meat and drink denotes a complete and perfect fullness, and the term river, denotes an overflowing abundance.

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