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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 36

Verses 1-12

  1. Intro:
    1. Outline: Bad Man; Good God; Satisfied Man.
  2. BAD MAN! (1-4)
    1. (1) The root of the problem
      1. Paul quotes (1b) to wrap up his summary of human depravity in Rom.3:10-18 "There is none righteous, no, not one;”…"There is no fear of God before their eyes."
      2. It all starts & ends here folks…If someone doesn’t fear God they become self deceived!
    2. (2) Self deception
      1. I picture here a Rope w/5 knots, in which a wicked man is working his way down…before he drops!
    3. Knot #1 – Self-Deceived! (2a NIV) For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.
      1. This man is self-deceived! – He has displaced God & has become the center of his/her universe! (me-centric)
      2. Jonathon Edwards came up man’s 8 top deceptions: (Boice; pg.309)
      3. [1] There is no such thing as another world!
      4. [2] Death is a great way off!
      5. [3] If I lead a moral & orderly life I shall not be damned!
      6. [4] I see my advantages as an occasion for self-flattery!
      7. [5] I am flattered by my own intentions! (i.e. I intend[ed] to do well)
      8. [6] I have done a great deal for my salvation!
      9. [7] I can strive for salvation!
      10. [8] Some think they are already converted!
      11. Now, these are for those who at least believe there is a God…What about those who have banished thoughts of God completely?
        1. Their deception is greatest of all!
    4. Knot #2 – Unable to detect or hate Sin! (2b) For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin)
      1. The warning here is not to dabble in sin.
      2. Alexander Pope(18th cent English poet) wrote, “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien As, to be hated, needs but to be seen; Yet, seen too oft, familiar w/her face, We 1st endure, then pity, then embrace!”
        1. Here is the problem w/sinning “just a little bit”!
    5. Knot #3 – Sins of the mind, express themselves in conduct! (3)
      1. Here(vs.3) it is in the case of speech, judgments, & actions.
    6. Knot #4 – Plotting evil by night! (4a)
      1. Hanging on to the 4th knot, he is abandoned to evil. Not only consumed by it in the day, but know his nights are plagued by it.
      2. He is not “drifting into evil” but now is inventing ways to do it.
      3. The godly man in contrast spends his wakeful nights meditating on God & His commands.
        1. Ps.1:2 “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.”
        2. Ps.63:6 “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.”
    7. Knot #5 – They can’t “just say no!” (4b) “He sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not abhor (reject) evil (does not reject what is wrong NIV)”
      1. Paul says it this way, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;” (Rom.1:28)
      2. In his thinking good becomes evil & evil good; black is white; truth is error; peace is turmoil; joy is misery. (Boice; pg.311)
      3. He 1st flattered himself(2a); then ceased to do good(3b); then plotted evil(4a); then set himself on a wicked course(4b)!
      4. And so this man finds himself at the end of his rope & drops at last!
        1. He’s been fascinated w/fire; played with fire; was trapped by the fire; & is now in the fire!
  3. GOOD GOD! (5-7a)
    1. Lovingkindness – Mercy(nkjv), unfailing love.
      1. It’s His lovingkindness that addresses your human weakness.
      2. This is an important one because it opens this list of attributes; then closes them(7); then reappears in the closing prayer(10).
    2. Faithfulness – Spurgeon, “He never fails, nor forgets, nor falters, nor forfeits His word…to every word of threat or promise, prophecy or covenant, the Lord has exactly adhered, for he is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent.”
      1. To the clouds(i.e. skies) meaning w/o limits.
        1. God is utterly & entirely faithful!!!
    3. Righteousness –
      1. God can always be trusted to do what is right!
      2. Abraham said, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen.18:25)
    4. Judgments – (Justice NIV)
      1. He’s not speaking of final judgment.
      2. He is thinking about God’s justice in human affairs.
      3. What’s awesome about this list of attributes is that they are shown to all of God’s creation(6b).
      4. Even the wicked experience a measure of love, faithfulness, righteousness, & justice. [This of course only makes their rebellion even more detestable!]
      5. In Theology we call this Common Grace. There isn’t 2 kinds of Grace, but instead God manifests His grace in 2 ways.
        1. [1] Common Grace – Innumerable blessings that aren’t apart of salvation.
        2. [2] Saving Grace –That grace that brings people to salvation.
        3. Common Grace involves the Physical realm(rains on just & unjust, Mt.5:44,45); the Intellectual realm(enlightens all men, Jn.1:9);the Moral realm(conscience, Rom2:14,15); the Creative realm(music, athletics, art); the Societal realm(unbelieving husband & wife can have a decent marriage); & the religious realm(Mt.5:44 pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, i.e. they may reap the benefits of our prayers for them).
        4. Example of common grace? – Just compare common grace to the deserved flames of hell & you can see the abundant evidence of Gods common grace in 1000’s of ways in everyday life! (Grudem on Grace; Systematic Theology)
  4. SATISFIED MAN! (7b-12)
    1. (7b) Under the shadow of Your wings –
      1. Interesting that the safest place in the world is under a shadow!
      2. Hen’s wings, or the Ark’s Angels wings?
    2. 4-fold Satisfaction!
      1. ​​​​​​​Not just satisfies…but “Abundantly satisfies”!
        1. This is where God “goes big”! – He, Super-sizes-satisfiesiz!
    3. [1] Satisfied in His House!
      1. Q: How much grace does one saint require in a day?
      2. Only the Infinite could supply him for one day.
      3. Yet the Lord supplies His table not for one, but for many saints; not for one day, but for many years; not for many years but for generation after generation! (Spurgeon)
      4. Spurgeon tells of a story of a father who moved his family from a rather small house to a large one. His youngest child was only a toddler & was so overwhelmed w/the new home that he ran from room to room, exclaiming about everything he saw, “Is this ours, Father? Is this ours?”
        1. He has no trouble appropriating the fathers provision & was obviously fully satisfied buy it.
    4. [2] Satisfied in His Pleasures!
      1. Pleasures – Delight. Joy. (Eden in Hebrew)
        1. When you dwell in God, you are in Paradise!
      2. Q: So why do we still drink from the rivers of this world & hope they’ll delight us?
      3. Jerusalem was one of the few ancient cities not built beside a river.
        1. Why? Because God is the river of His people!
        2. Jer.2:13 "They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,”
        3. Jn.4:13,14 "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
        4. We shall always have satisfaction for our spiritual thirst.
      4. [3] Satisfied in His Life!
        1. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (Jn.1:4)
        2. There is not a drop of life to be found w/o Him, or which flows not from His grace.
          1. In Him we live, move, & have their being.”
          2. He is a river that flows, yet is always the same. A stream that never stops pouring out, yet always is replenished.
        3. It is a blessed thing to live at the fountain head!
        4. When our water-skins are full, like Hagar & Ishmael, we are content; but when they dry up in the desert, nothing will satisfy us but He who is called, “You-are-the-God-who-Sees!” (Gen.16:13; 21)
        5. The Christian is blest to “have nothing, & yet possessing all things!”
        6. It’s ok when God brings us to a thirsting condition, be sure to turn to the fountain of life with eagerness!
      5. [4] Satisfied in His Light!
        1. The pages of the bible our devoid of light until we place them under the light of Jesus!
        2. Like Cleopas & his friend on the road to Emmaus were both in the dark until Jesus turned on the light for them, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Lk.24:27)
        3. Q: Did the world all of a sudden look different when you were 1st saved?
        4. In Your light we see light! – He shines His light upon? 1st in a shimmer of light in Nature; then steady beam in the OT; a spot light w/Jesus’ life; a flood light in the NT; finally…the suns full glory when we see Him face to face!
      6. Q: Are you satisfied w/the things of God? (Read Ps.63:1-5)
      7. (10-12) He concludes w/a prayer for God to continue his steadfast love & salvation to His true people, & that he protect them.
        1. (12) NIV “See how the evildoers lie fallen-- thrown down, not able to rise!”
      8. Put your trust under the shadow of His wings –
        1. Put their trust = find refuge, flee for refuge.
        2. Like the man in the OT who was guilty of manslaughter. He would flee w/haste, stopping for nothing, until he found himself in the city of refuge, & thus stayed their to save his life!
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Psalms 36". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/psalms-36.html. 2017.