Psalm 36 - Your Love, Oh Lord

I cannot allow Psalm 36 to go by without stopping to take a look.  I have rejoiced in the greatness of our God with confidence, dependence, surrender, humility, … and more, many times!   It is indeed a precious passage to me.

The contrast displayed in these verses speak to both our world’s complete inability to offer greatness and my own smallness, desperate need, and privilege of connection to the One described with such majesty.

As we begin the Psalm, we see the incongruity between what an ungodly person thinks of himself and the true pettiness of his ways.  How simple and small is the person that believes the evil he does is good.   How disingenuous it is to look at the fine-tuned world around us and believe that you could have “no fear of God” in your own strength, intelligence, or ability.  This does not display a greatness as the person might want to believe or manipulate others to think, but truly, “he has ceased to be wise.”   The emptiness and uselessness of this pattern of life makes a a quip like “YOLO” one of the higher ends, which is deeply sad.

In stark contrast to this emptiness and smallness, we see a dramatic turn in verse 5 toward the greatness and majesty of just a few of the majestic attributes of the Lord.   The Psalmist attempts to give us fitting measurements or comparisons of God’s Love (mercy, lovingkindness), Faithfulness, Righteousness, and Judgment.  How could he?  These are attributes that are beyond measure.  Well, fittingly, under the inspiration of the Spirit, these comparisons, while not completely adequate, are magnificent helps in seeing the wonder of God’s greatness.

Your love, oh Lord, reaches to the heavens - As high as the heavens go, that’s the boundary of God’s perfection of love for us, for you!   While the small-minded sinner is going to respond selfishly, or at best, seemingly loving for personal benefit; God’s love is beyond a height that we can comprehend.  This thought is echoed in the New Testament in Ephesians 3:17-19 (width, length, height, depth of the love of Christ).

Your faithfulness stretches to the skies - This measurement could be height once again, but I like to think of this in the horizontal sense.  God’s faithfulness stretches everywhere and to everyone that is under the sky for as far as it goes.   We can see the sky for quite a distance, and from some vantage points, we can see the sky for a very long way; but his faithfulness goes much further.  His consistent faithfulness is there at all times, stretched out over us, over you.

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains - what would the weightiness of His moral good be?  What scale would you use?   His righteousness is of such a hefty value that it can only really be compared to the largest of monstrosities that we can understand.   Even better, it is unmovable.  His morality has no thought of being pushed aside by a whim, a sudden gust of wind, or even a great storm.

Your justice, Lord, is like the ocean’s tides - The ocean is such a beautiful picture for the Lord’s justice and judgments.  His wisdom and knowledge of the parameters, the people, and all the factors is greater … deeper … than we could ever plunge.  In addition, the application of His wise judgment comes into our lives repeatedly, consistently, like the tides upon the seashore.  Each one washing truth into our lives over and over and over …

Now consider an additional majestic comparison of greatness.  The Creator of the the Heavens, Skies, Mountains and Oceans in all His awesome strength and ability has equally powerful abilities as the One who brings Love, Faithfulness, Good, and Justice.  

“How precious is Your love, O God!” (vs. 7)

One of the main ways this Psalm has been used in my life is in song.  At this point, it is an Oldie-but-a-Goodie, but I still greatly enjoy praising the Lord along with it.   The group Third Day uses verses 5 & 6 as a main part of their song fittingly named, “Your Love Oh Lord.”   I especially enjoy their live version on their album named, “Offerings,” where Mac Powell begins the track with an open admission that the purpose of the night is not really a show, but rather, to “gather in the name of Jesus.”  Below is a link to this version of the song …


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