Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
1 Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. 2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. 3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. 4 He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.
5 Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.
Psalm 36 compares the person who is self-obsessed and living a life of sin with one who is captivated with the love of God. The unrighteous one lives a constricted, self-centered life. Their heart is filled with darkness. They flatter themselves as though they are the center of the universe. Their words do only harm. A life of sin is foolish and does unspeakable damage to all.
The Psalmist then speaks of the greatness, wonder, and love of God. Who would not be captivated and drawn to such a Lord who as Eugene Peterson so aptly proclaims in The Message:
God’s love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks. (verses 5-6)
When we can see the stark difference between a life of sin and a life saturated with the love and wisdom of God, then there is no comparison. Jesus may call us to a “narrow way,” but that way leads to an expansive and wondrous life.
Repentance literally means to begin to think differently about the way you are thinking. How does this Psalm turn upside down the idea that a life of sin is a life of pleasure?
Prayer: O Lord, I cannot understand how a life of sin would tempt me. You have prepared a glorious life for all who trust you. I turn away from a life of degradation and darkness and receive your love, wonder, purpose, and salvation. Amen.