Psalms 36:0 ¶ To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD.
Another psalm of David writing from his heart as a servant, a willing bondslave of the LORD. This song was sent to the chief Musician for use by the musicians serving at the tabernacle.
Psalms 36:1 ¶ The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.
Psalms 36:2 For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.
David opens this psalm with an assessment of why wicked people act like they do; they sin because they have no fear of God. After reading several translations of verse 2, I tend toward the NIV: “For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.”
Everyone who rejects the LORD is wicked; only those covered by the blood of Jesus are righteous before the LORD. Most of those who reject the LORD do not consider themselves wicked and do not consider themselves sinners because they fit right into the accepted culture that surrounds them. They have fallen for the deceit and lies of the god of this world, Satan.
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Spurgeon: “Those eyes which have no fear of God before them now, shall have the terrors of hell before them for ever.”
Psalms 36:3 The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.
The words of the wicked are iniquity, they are false, cause trouble and sorrow, unjust and evil (all from the Hebrew). They speak with the intent to deceive, to perpetrate fraud as they seek personal gain. They have chosen to forsake wisdom, the fear of the LORD, or to do good. Obviously, David defines good as doing that which is in obedience to the LORD.
Job 28:28 “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom….”
Psalms 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.”
Spurgeon re iniquity and deceit: “This pair of hell dogs generally hunt together, and what one does not catch the other will; if iniquity cannot win by oppression, deceit will gain by chicanery. When the heart is so corrupt as to flatter itself, the tongue follows suit. The open sepulchre of the throat reveals the foulness of the inner nature.”
Psalms 36:4 He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.
David emphasizes the truth of the last verse. The wicked man makes plans for his evil deeds from his bed because he does not hate evil. Again, he has fallen for the lies of Satan and he has no fear of the LORD.
Psalms 36:5 ¶ Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.
Psalms 36:6 Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.
David, however, is in awe of the LORD’s mercy and faithfulness, which he pictures as reaching up to the heavens. He pictures the LORD’s righteousness as a great mountain, standing strong and immovable. He compares the LORD’s judgment to “a great deep.” The Hebrew makes reference to causing agitation and destruction, and that is a good description of how it affects the wicked. David recognized that the LORD is sovereign over all life in His creation; He alone preserves and sustains life.
Psalms 36:7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
The Hebrew for “excellent” makes reference to something valuable, rare and precious—all of which are characteristic of God’s lovingkindness. The greatest evidence of this love was the gift of His only Son to provide for our salvation.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
1 Peter 1:18–19 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
1 Peter 2:3–6 “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious….Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.”
It is the love of God that draws men to place their faith in Him. That is why Jesus put such an emphasis on the need for His followers to love one another; we are to be reflections of Him to the lost world around us.
John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
1 John 4:7–8 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
Psalms 36:8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.
Psalms 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
Those who place their trust in the LORD will experience His abundant blessings which the psalmist pictures as drinking from a river of pleasures. Though David did not know Jesus, he knew that the LORD is the wellspring of true life, eternal life in His presence, a source that will never dry up.
Ironsides: “While the wicked never find that for which they are seeking, never find peace, never find satisfaction, how different is the state of the righteous! ‘They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.’”
“in thy light…” – Looking at the Hebrew from David’s perspective, I think he was making a statement about finding happiness through one’s faith in the LORD. I think there is also valid application to be made about the illumination from God that provides illumination to many things—foremost being the light of truth that leads to salvation.
1 Peter 2:9–10 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
Psalms 36:10 O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart.
Though has already described the LORD’s blessings as an ever-flowing river of pleasure, David calls for the LORD to continue showing love to those that know Him and are upright in heart and have chosen to follow Him as LORD.
Psalms 36:11 Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me.
Psalms 36:12 There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.
As David closes the psalm, his address becomes more personal, even as it provides a connection to his previous statement. He is upright in heart before the LORD and needs His protection from those that are full of pride and seeking to do evil against him. He ends the song with a note of confidence and describes his enemies as workers of iniquity that have fallen in defeat in light of God’s faithfulness.