Wednesday, October 5, 2016
A Wrestling Match
When I came to the 36th Psalm, I felt like I had been thrown into a wrestling match. Finding a central message, or an over-riding Word seemed to be an impossibility. The Psalm is like two Psalms with each being completely separate from the other. The first four verses address the reality of wickedness in the hearts of people. The wicked speak mischief and deceit. They do not reject evil but listen to the persuasive voice of transgression. And, then without any hint of transition from one thought to another, the rest of the Psalm extols the steadfast love of God. It is precious, unfathomable, and mighty in its power to save.
After days and days of going back and back again to this Psalm, I began to see something not seen in my earlier endeavors to hear the Word of God in this passage. In this Psalm which speaks so majestically of the steadfast love of God, we are enabled to see its wide breadth and its deep deepness as we begin to realize that not even the most wicked, the most stubborn, and the most arrogant live beyond the boundaries of the love of God. The wicked practice their wickedness under the umbrella of God's love. His love is for them as surely as it is for the righteous. The fact that the wicked fail to see does not change God's love for them. As the Psalmist says, "O God, all people may take refuge in the shadow of Your wings." (Verse 7)
No one understands this truth more clearly than the sinner who has heard and responded to the merciful and loving call of God which means that I should have understood this was part of the message at the very beginning. We go by many names. Some have to do with the years, or the country of birth, or the family into which we were born. But, the one name common to all of us is sinner. Thanks be to God for His precious, wide-reaching, and steadfast love.