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The Curse of Estrangement from God and the Blessing of Fellowship with Him.
To the chief musician, for use in the liturgical services of the Temple, a psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who here pictures to all other servants of Jehovah the darkness in which the ungodly dwell, and then the light in which the believers have their being.
v. 1. The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, rather, "A prompting of wickedness to the evil within the confines of his heart," that there is no fear of God before his eyes. That is the condition as David sees it: There is nothing but promptings to evil in the heart of the wicked and no evidence of fear and dread of God before their eyes.
v. 2. For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful; that is, vice, wickedness, evil, flatters the godless person in his own eyes, making sin pleasant and attractive, in order to plunge him into guilt by his hatred of the righteous, for that is the climax of his wickedness.
v. 3. The words of his mouth, in the expression of this hatred against the godly, are iniquity and deceit, full of falsehood and lying; he hath left off to be wise and to do good, rejected all right principles of conduct.
v. 4. He deviseth mischief upon his bed, using even the night for these meditations of wickedness; he setteth himself in a way, deliberately choosing a course, that is not good; he abhorreth not evil, the strongest way of saying that he delights in it. Such is the spiritual darkness of the ungodly. The psalmist now, by way of contrast, pictures Jehovah and those that believe in Him.
v. 5. Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, rather, reaches up to the heavens; and Thy faithfulness, with which He keeps His promises of mercy, reacheth unto the clouds, filling the whole world.
v. 6. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains, huge, massive, and certain; Thy judgments are a great deep, a mighty and powerful flood. O Lord, Thou, with such unbounded qualities of power, preservest man and beast, all creatures being included in His providence.
v. 7. How excellent is Thy loving-kindness, how precious His mercy, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings, the believers finding full shelter in His protection, Deuteronomy 32:11; Psalms 91:1.
v. 8. They shall be abundantly satisfied, to the point of intoxication, with the fatness of Thy house, in connection with the sacrificial meals of the thank and peace-offerings; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures, in a plentiful supply, as in anew, spiritual Eden, for God is the Fountainhead of richest blessings.
v. 9. For with Thee is the fountain of life, the source of all true life, both physical and spiritual; in Thy light shall we see light, the light of everlasting grace from the countenance of God. The frequent connection of life and light in Scripture, Psalms 56:13; Job 3:20, also with reference to the coming of Christ, John 1:4, shows that the redemption of salvation is meant. The believers, even here in time, are enjoying the benefits of the salvation gained through the work of Christ, and in yonder life they shall have it in joyful fullness, without any admixture of this earth's misery. Therefore the psalmist closes with a fervent prayer.
v. 10. O continue Thy loving-kindness unto them that know Thee, letting them enjoy His merciful kindness also in the future, and Thy righteousness to the upright in heart, to act as a protective cover over them.
v. 11. Let not the foot of pride, in an act of violence, come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me, driving him away into banishment from the land of God's inheritance.
v. 12. There are the workers of iniquity, the evil-doers, fallen, in the very act of violence they are overthrown; they are cast down and shall not be able to rise, so that the triumph of the righteous is complete. Such is ever the victory of faith, for it derives both light and life from God.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Psalms 36". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany