Midweek Message 6 March 2024

Thank you to Pat B for this message

I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.

In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin.
The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; they fail to act wisely or do good. Even on their beds they plot evil; they commit themselves to a sinful course
and do not reject what is wrong.

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!  People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life, in your light we see light.

10 Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart. 11 May the foot of the proud not come against me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away. 12 See how the evildoers lie fallen— thrown down, not able to rise!

This psalm provides a vivid contrast of the sinful condition of humankind to the boundless and far-reaching love and mercy of God. Elements of creation are again used by David to define God’s character, his qualities, and attributes.

The first verses give a frank resume of the human condition, the state of sin, wickedness, evil, deceit.  There is no fear of God, no respect for God nor recognition or awareness of his sovereignty as creator and Lord. Paul teaches on this in Romans 3: 18 in discussion of righteousness and sin, citing v. 1 in his argument.

With no recognition of God, people flatter and worship themselves, v.2, seeing themselves as the most important thing in the world. There’s great pride, people admiring themselves and even seeing themselves as god. Evil is spoken and acted out, v.3, and actively contemplated as David tells us that the wicked even meditate on new ways to be and do evil, v. 4. There is no discernment between good and evil as long as they feel satisfied and ‘happy’. How we see that today with ‘my needs’ often being above and beyond any consideration of others.

David then looks to our great God and describes him using the whole breadth of creation: love as the greatest heavens; faithfulness as the vast skies; righteousness as the highest mountains; justice as the deepest seas v. 5-6, what a tremendous, all reaching, all powerful God we have! We who are made in God’s image are offered a better way to live our lives, God reaches across creation in his boundless love and offers us forgiveness from our sins in the person of Jesus.

God gives us physical provision with protection under his wings, v.7, a lovely metaphor we see also in Ruth 2: 12 and Matthew 23:37, a reassuring image of safety and refuge. There’s also spiritual provision with living water offered in abundance from rivers and fountains, v. 8-9, reminding us of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and God’s power available to us. There’s light to illuminate the way forward in truth and faith with love for all those who choose the way of forgiveness.

David specifically asks God for protection from the wickedness of others, from the foot of the proud and the hand of the wicked, v.11. He has seen their result, fallen in their sin and separated from God.  In no way does he want to get caught up in their evil doing or be dragged into going the same way and end up in the same predicament. We should also seek God’s protection so that we keep firm in our faith and trust God as we live in this world.

So, as we reflect on this psalm, is there a difficult situation you are experiencing because of your own sin or that of others?  Are you facing temptation in your life to make different choices? Ask God to show you his vast love and mercy and give you the power of the Holy Spirit to do the right thing, always be assured of his protection and care.

Let’s pray this Collect for Grace from morning prayer as we conclude our thoughts.

O LORD, our heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day: Defend us in the same with thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings may be ordered by thy governance, to do always that is righteous in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.