Today’s reading is Psalm 36.
While it is perfectly legitimate to pigeonhole the genre of a psalm as you start to study it, if you forget that the labels we attribute to psalms are not God-inspired, you can miss the trees for the forest. This happens for many with Psalm 36. Is it a wisdom psalm? Is it a praise psalm? Is it a lament? There are elements of each of these genres in this psalm. These attempts to pin down a genre cause some to suggest this psalm is a hodgepodge of multiple ancient psalms thrown together without unity.
That, however, misses the big picture of what is going on here. Once again, we are being taken back to the very first psalm. However, this time there is a twist.
In Psalm 1, the two people being counseled are contrasted: the blessed and the wicked. The blessed listen to God, the wicked listen to…well…other wicked people. In Psalm 36, the two counsellors are contrasted: God and sin.
In this psalm, David personifies sin much like Paul does in Romans 7. Sin counsels and leads. But sin’s counsel is deceptive and destructive. On the other hand, God also calls to David. David knows God’s counsel is anchored in steadfast love and faithfulness. He is no fool. He chooses God to be his counsellor. More than that, he chooses God to be his defender against Sin and those who heed its counsel.
In Psalm 1, we had a choice between ways. In Psalm 36, we have a choice between guides. Choose wisely!
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 36.
A Word for Our Kids
Hey kids, have you picked up on the biggest trouble we have with these blogposts? Every week, we have to struggle and work to try to come up with something new to say, something different, something unique. It’s fun to try to figure that out, keeping our devotional thoughts fresh and varied. This struggle however highlights something really important about the psalms.
The psalmists were not really concerned about saying something new. Rather, we find that the psalms present some of the same themes over and over and over again. On the one hand, hopefully our attempts to look at these psalms from different angles, drawing out different subtopics keeps this blog interesting. However, on the other hand, if we are not careful, we will miss the great lessons repetition teaches us.
For instance, as I shared with your parents, this psalm takes us right back to the theme opened in Psalm 1. It’s a theme we’ve repeated multiple times throughout the psalms. We have two choices, God’s way and the wicked way. The psalmists want us to see that choice. They refuse to let us miss it. They hit us over the head with it again and again and again.
Even if you get bored hearing the same point over and over again, learn its lesson. You only have two choices: God’s way and anything else. Only God’s way wins. Only God’s way wins. Only God’s way wins.