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Reading:                                     Psalm 36

For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord.

(Verses 1-4)

I have a message from God in my heart     

concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:

There is no fear of God before their eyes.

In their own eyes they flatter themselves     

too much to detect or hate their sin.

The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;     

they fail to act wisely or do good.

Even on their beds they plot evil;     

they commit themselves to a sinful course     

and do not reject what is wrong. (NIV)

Reflection

Psalm 36 is a psalm of contrasts. David compares the wickedness of man with the amazing goodness of God. This opening portion of the Psalm 36 touches only on the depravity of man. The picture we see of ourselves is not particularly flattering.

According to David the problem begins with our eyes. He states, “There is no fear of God before their eyes. In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin.”

The sinful man has a vision problem. He cannot see the dire consequences of his sin. Sin exacts a terrible price. Consider the lives wrecked by addiction to alcohol, drugs or pornography. Furthermore, the damage is not limited to those caught in the terrible grip of sin. It overflows and contaminates all those around. Sin blinds the eyes so we cannot see the suffering we are causing to ourselves and others.

Over time, even so called “small” sins can exact a heavy toll on our lives. Often in subtle ways sin robs us of intimacy, peace and joy. While we are blind to the problem, sin interferes with our relationship with God and those who are near to us. Daily, one should be asking oneself, do I have the right view of myself. In my mind am I flattering myself too much to detect or hate my sin? Have I become blind to my faults?

There is a biblical prescription for the blindness caused by our sinful condition. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding (Psalm 111:10). The fear of the LORD opens our eyes. The fear of the LORD leads to repentance and the fear of the LORD enlightens our understanding.

What is keeping you from intimacy, joy and peace? Is it a plethora of secret sins that blind and bind you into unhealthy patterns of thinking? Ask God to give you a right view—an unflattering view of yourself—so that with His help you can change.

Response: LORD God, help me to see a true picture of myself. If I see sin in my life, help me to change. Grant me the gift of repentance through Jesus, who loved me to the point of death on a cross. Amen.

Your Turn: In our mind, all of us flatter ourselves. How do you maintain a right picture of yourself?