“Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all. In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are.
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, Your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.” Psalms 36:1-2, 5-6 NLT
Psalm 36 starts with a reflection on the attitudes of the wicked and their sin, but then quickly turns to these wonderful verses about God’s love, faithfulness, righteousness and justice. It’s almost as though the Psalmist, David, suddenly pulled himself back from thinking about sin and wicked people, to reflect instead on our wonderful Creator God. These wonderful words in verses 5 and 6 have been used as the basis for several songs; they capture so expressively the boundless limits of God’s wonder.
It is a common human trait, to allow thoughts to dwell on the negative. It is so easy to get focused on what’s wrong in life rather than what is right and good and beneficial. And once thoughts are in a negative groove, they will soon be followed by a downward mood swing, bringing depression or an emotional “low”.
On my morning prayer walks through Dean Woods close by to where I live, I often find that just looking at the wonders of God’s creation around me is sufficient to lift my spirits out of any negative groove. At this time of year I see the wild strawberries and flowers. The trees in a profusion of leafy growth. The birdsong dominating the audio realm. And David in his Psalm did likewise, by looking at the wonders and scale of God’s creation. In his world without light pollution the heavens would be a wonderful sight, full of little bright dots, so many in number that they merge into a canopy of light. And he relates the wonders of creation to God’s character, bringing out His love, faithfulness, righteousness and justice, and probably many more similar thoughts as he dwells on his wonderful God and the world around him.
Paul encouraged the Philippian church with the advice, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT). Sound advice that we would do well to obey. David realised it. So must we.