It use to be that you could easily tell the good guys from the bad ones. In older western movies, the good guys wore white hats.
But the public image is not always the private reality. Nowadays, image and branding have become an important industry. Much emphasis is put on projecting the right public persona.
No matter how a person appears on the outside, the heart of a person reveals their true self. God is far more concerned with the heart of a person than their image. If we're wise, we ought to be as well.
For the choir director; by David, the Lord’s servant.
There is an inspired truth about the wicked person who has rebellion in the depths of his heart: He is not terrified of God.
He flatters himself and does not hate or ⌊even⌋ recognize his guilt. The words from his mouth are ⌊nothing but⌋ trouble and deception.
He has stopped doing what is wise and good. He invents trouble while lying on his bed and chooses to go the wrong direction. He does not reject evil. [vss 1-4]
O Lord, your mercy reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God, your judgments like the deep ocean. You save people and animals, O Lord.
Your mercy is so precious, O God, that Adam’s descendants take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They are refreshed with the rich foods in your house, and you make them drink from the river of your pleasure.
Indeed, the fountain of life is with you. In your light we see light. [vss 5-9]
Continue to show your mercy to those who know you and your righteousness to those whose motives are decent.
Do not let the feet of arrogant people step on me or the hands of wicked people push me away. Look at the troublemakers who have fallen. They have been pushed down and are unable to stand up again. [vss 10-12]
(Psalm 36:1-12 GW) [Context– Psalm 36]
Key phrase— O Lord, your mercy reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies
[bctt tweet="O Lord, your mercy reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies" username="tkbeyond"]
Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions
How is the "wicked person" characterized? What does this person do and not do?
How do all these descriptions reveal the core problem of someone who is wicked?
How is the Lord described in contrast to the wicked? How do the images used make these descriptions more vivid and memorable?
What are the benefits for those who are not in rebellion, but trust in the Lord?
Most people have difficulty with faith in God, because He's not readily visible. We want to see Him to believe in Him. One of Jesus' followers, Thomas, was of the same mindset (John 20:25).
Yet, many things are accepted and believed in that aren't visible, such as thoughts or gravity. Thoughts are made known through words, and we all experience the effects and impact of the earth's gravity.
Faith in God is similar. We know about God through the words and experiences of others, but also the intelligent design of the natural world (creation).
In a similar way, a person's heart is revealed by their words and actions. This is true for each of us and in relation to one another.
When we find ourselves filled with pride and deception without a sense of guilt, it's time to change the direction of our life. This often requires God helping us change our heart to make wiser choices.
Make it personal...
Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions
What is your typical response to flattery (of any kind), deception, and wrong-doing?
How do you handle guilt? Do you learn from it or ignore it?
Are you aware of and appreciate God's great mercy and faithfulness?
Do you have a healthy respect for God's power and righteousness?
Here's a link to a favorite song of ours taken from Psalm 36– Your Love Oh Lord (but skip the ad ;-)
Would you like a free study guide for your study of Psalms?