Psalm 36: An Uncommon Love
There are a lot of things that can be considered common in this world—things you’re bound to find a lot of wherever you go. People, for instance. Or bathrooms (thankfully). Road signs (except in New England). Businesses. Families. Art. Food. I even live in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (whatever that means). And just as common as these fixtures is the rebellious bent of human hearts toward God and his rule. You can guarantee that no matter where you go in life, you’re bound to find a lot of sinners (e.g. just look in the mirror). What is entirely uncommon, however, is the kind of love we find flowing from our Heavenly Father and expressed in his eternal Son, Jesus Christ. Psalm 36 is all about this uncommon love.
Psalm 36 begins by focusing on the common plight of worldliness—that perspective and pattern of life in a fallen world that, as David Wells puts it, “makes sin look normal and righteousness seem strange.” Verses 1-4 give us a prophetic glimpse into the essence, fuel, and fruit of this worldly rebellion. So pervasive is its pattern that it threatens to overcome us or drive us away from God (v. 11), as though the reach of his loyal love is too short to save sinners or its value too little to supply what we need for life.
Yet according to vv. 5-9, the kind of unfailing, ever-present, loyal love that is so uncommon among people on earth is abundantly available from heaven. Its scope is boundless, stretching from the heights of the heavens to the depths of the sea, and thus able to reach the most wretched of sinners. And its quality is incomparable, able to supply us with the protection, provision, life, and leading that we need—the kind of shelter and satisfaction that Jesus secures for those who trust him by rescuing us from our rebellion and sin through his life, death, and resurrection.
And as we find ourselves living between two opposing but equally true realities of life in the meantime—the pervasive threat of worldliness and the immeasurable hope of God’s loyal love—it’s fitting to join in the psalmist’s prayer from vv. 10-12: that we would taste and see the loyalty and steadfastness of God’s love for us in Christ.
If you’re in the Boston MetroWest area, join us this Sunday (Aug. 21) at Westgate Church as we explore Psalm 36 and God’s uncommon love, even for disloyal sinners, through his eternal Son, Jesus Christ.
Update: You can find the sermon manuscript here: Psalm 36 Westgate 8.21.11