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Bible Commentaries

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books

Psalms 36

Verses 1-12

The next Psalm seems to fit in so aptly immediately following the 35th. It is also a Psalm of David. I do not know when he wrote it or under what circumstances, but he evidently had been musing on the different conditions of the wicked and the righteous; and so he undertakes in this Psalm to depict the sad state of the one and the joyous condition of the other. It seems to divide into just three parts. From verse 1 Timothy 4:0 we have the estate of the wicked: “The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.” That is the thing that makes for wickedness, when men have absolutely cast off the fear of God. “For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful. The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good. He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.” It is a very graphic description of the ungodly. Then in contrast to this we have the goodness of God toward the righteous. “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings.”

While the wicked never find that for which they are seeking, never find peace, never find satisfaction, how different is the state of the righteous! “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.” What is the river of God’s pleasures? I think it is really the Holy Spirit’s testimony to the preciousness of Christ. Did you ever drink of that river? Did you not get a wonderful draught?

Let us trace that river a bit through the Psalms. Look at Psalms 46:4, “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.” It is that refreshing stream that comes down from heaven to cheer and gladden the souls of those who drink. Then turn to Psalms 65:9, “Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: Thou preparest them corn, when Thou hast so provided for it.” And then you pass from the Psalms and get over to the book of Ezekiel and see that river flowing forth beneath the throne and the altar, the river of blessing to the whole world in millennial days. Then go to the book of Revelation and read, “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1), that wonderful river of which “if a man drinks he lives for ever.” “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). And the fountain of life is the Word of God made good to the soul by the Holy Spirit. As Jesus said to that woman at the well, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him”-a fountain-not merely a well as we have it in our version-“of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14). David drank of this fountain, and we today who are saved enjoy the same blessing.

In the closing verses we see faith calling on God for complete deliverance, “O continue Thy lovingkindness unto them that know Thee; and Thy righteousness to the upright in heart. Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me. There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.” And yet perhaps as he wrote that he was still surrounded by his foes, but faith speaks of the things which are not as though they are. I can trust God, and the enemy will have no power against me.

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Bibliographical Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Psalms 36". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. 1914.