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Wicked people

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Psalms 36:10-12 O continue your lovingkindness unto them that know you; and your 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. 

Have you ever caught yourself judging someone else? "This evil person did something so horribly bad." Or maybe watched the news and then simply came to the conclusion: "Those evil people,... I would never do something like this."

I think David had these kinds of thoughts at the beginning of Psalm 36. We don't know what happened that day, what he was thinking of. But for some reason he started being very negative about someone else. 

Psalms 36:1 The transgression of the wicked says within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. 

And for the next few verses he goes on complaining about some people he considers wicked. 

Then in verse 5 there is an interesting shift. Suddenly David starts talking about God's mercy. 

Psalms 36:5 Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and your faithfulness reaches unto the clouds. 

Again, we don't know exactly what happened at that moment. But my guess would be that the Holy Spirit started speaking to him. Maybe it went something like this: "David, hang on for a second. Let me say something. Yes, those people committed wickedness. And yes, what they did wasn't right. You have every right to be upset about what happened. BUT, here's something you need to remember: I love them, like I love you!"

Phew. That blew David's mind. Suddenly he has a total different perspective on the same situation. In a moment he stops talking about "the wicked people" and starts talking about "God's mercy". He probably realized: "Wow God, you love them, no matter what evil they did! And they can receive forgiveness, just like I do."

And then comes verse 10, when David gets a reminder of the ultimate truth:

Psalms 36:10 O continue your lovingkindness unto them that know you; and your righteousness to the upright in heart. 

He realizes that we are all in the same boat. All of us fall short of God's standards. And David realizes that everybody needs God's lovingkindness. 

So what's the difference? Who is then right with God? Who is forgiven? Well, The Psalm uses 2 phrases

  • Those who know you (meaning: know God)
  • Those who are upright in heart

David realizes that judging people by their deeds is not what God does. Because by that standard everybody would be condemned. What matter is not primarily "how good we are". What matters ultimately is to know God, and to be right with Him in our hearts. 

Judging others is a dangerous field. Jesus has some strong words about that:

Matthew 7:1-2 Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you again. 

And what He means is basically this: "If you judge others by what they do right and wrong, then I will judge you by your wrongdoins as well." I can say about myself that I won't be able to stand that test. Because I fall terribly short of God's standards.

Instead, I try look at people through the eyes of God's grace and mercy. Because if I judge people with love, grace and mercy, then God will judge me that way as well. And if God does that for me, then I still have hope. 

Psalms 36:10-12 O continue your lovingkindness unto them that know you; and your 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. 

Save me from my pride oh Lord. And help me to see how fallen I truly am, so that you can restore me! In Jesus' name, Amen



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