Friday, August 14, 2009

The Prevailing Love of God

Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,
and Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
(Psalm 36:10)
Exalting in the reach of God’s faithful love (vv. 5-6) and the abundant pleasures of that love (vv. 7-9), David now brings his song full circle to address the problem with which he opened up this psalm: wicked men and the evil they do (vv. 1-4). David is now moving from praise to petition: Continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You.

The Hebrew word translated “continue” means to prolong, stretch out, extend or draw. Young’s Literal Translation renders it as “draw out,” which is interesting, considering that the psalm writer describes the faithful love of God as a river and a fountain: Draw out of the fountain of life and the river of delights now to protect us from the wicked.

This love, this protection, belongs to those who know the Lord. To know Yahweh is to have regard for Him and His ways, which is what the wicked in verse 1 lacked. Those who love, honor and trust in the Lord can expect Him to deliver them when evil men come.

The righteousness of God is His justice. This prayer is for God to do justice — to set things right — for those who are upright, those who are doing what is good and right, in contrast to those who are doing what is evil. David now spells out his concern:
Let not the foot of pride come against me,
And let not the hand of the wicked drive me away. (v. 11)
Then, having placed this before the Lord, David has a vision of what he has just asked for — he sees it as a foregone conclusion:
There the workers of iniquity have fallen;
They have been cast down and are not able to rise. (v. 12)
When the faithful love of God arises to do set things right, the wicked and their evil deeds are no match. They go down for the count and are not able to get back up. This lovingkindness belongs to all who know, love and trust Him.