3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermons

Summary: Everyone carries a “sinful man” around inside of them; that is God’s assessment, for He has said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”

October 25, 2014

Tom Lowe

Title: The Sinful Man.

A psalm of David.

Part 1 verses 1-4

Part 2 verses 5-12

Psalm 36 (KJV)

(Part 1: verses 1-4)

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

2 For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.

3 The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.

4 He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.

Introduction

David has a half dozen things to say about the sinful man:

The Sinful Man’s Persuasion (36.1)

The Sinful Man’s Pride (36.2)

The Sinful Man’s Policy (36.3a)

The Sinful Man’s Past (36.3b)

The Sinful Man’s Plans (36.4a)

The Sinful Man’s Path (36.4b)

Everyone carries a “sinful man” around inside of them; that is God’s assessment, for He has said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” When a Spanish general told his enemies in Spain that he was going to take over Madrid because he had a large force surrounding the city and a secret force concealed inside, he expressed, in military terms, the moral problem we all face. Our enemy (Satan) has a secret force concealed inside of us. He has sinister allies lurking everywhere deep down in our hearts.

The problem which gave rise to this psalm is probably the presence in the Judean community of a bold group of godless men who are trampling down the righteous and causing some of the Lord’s congregation to waver in their loyalty.

Commentary

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

Here the poet contemplates the sinful heart of a man who was representative of a section of society at that time, a section which has proved self-propagating in all societies, including ours. We are face to face with one who has sunk as deep as anyone can. Sin has become his oracle[1]. He does not only do wrong, but he interprets the world and its government from the point of view of sin. His conscience no longer troubles him, because “transgression” is in charge of it. This is the picture of the last degradation. We can only hope that in God’s mercy it never completely happens, for that would mean that the spirit of God in the soul is quenched.

The Septuagint translation, which is the Greek translation made by the seventy in Egypt, of this verse reads, “The wicked hath an oracle of transgression in his heart.” What is that oracle of transgression in the heart? It is the old nature that everyone has, the Adamic nature. In Matthew 15:19 the Lord Jesus Christ says, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” It is an ugly brood that comes out of the heart.

The word translated “transgression” is the usual Hebrew word for “rebellion.”The wicked man makes rebellion his inner oracle. In scripture, an oracle is usually an authoritative pronouncement from the Lord; but here it is sin that is speaking an oracle deep in the heart of the sinner. The wicked man gives to the lawless voice of rebellion within his soul the same place that the believer gives to the Word of God. This lying voice, which appeals to all his inner corruptness and lawlessness, becomes a lying spirit within his breast. This is why wicked men go on doing what they do. They are listening to a lying oracle within. It says there is no need to fear God’s punishments. God does not exist, and even if He does, He is not concerned about the plight of men. David found to his horror that there were times when he listened to the same inner oracle.

In Psalm 10, the sinner talks to himself, but here sin talks to the sinner. Sin deceives us (Romans 7:11) and flatters us (Deuteronomy 29:18, 19), giving us the false assurance that our rebellion will go unpunished (Genesis 3:1-5). “Listen to your heart!” the world tells us, forgetting that “The heart is more deceitful than all else and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). This self-deception of the wicked is due to his deliberate blindness toward God; he shuts himself within himself, and by listening to the smooth words of his own oracle, persuades himself that he is immune from ultimate disgrace and dereliction. Of course, the sinner’s self-confident arrogance brings tragic consequences, starting with an absence of the fear of God. In this verse, “fear” is not the word for reverential respect of God that all believers should cultivate, but rather the word that means the dread of God and His judgment. Paul quotes this verse in Romans 3:8, along with other Old Testament statements that reveal the wickedness of the human heart. When we don’t fear God, we flatter ourselves, and that flattery gives us more confidence to sin. We don’t really see ourselves as the Lord sees us, and we are blind to our own sins and what they can do to us. This kind of person doesn’t hate sin or despise it or reject it but finds delight in doing it. It is a terrible thing when a man becomes headstrong in wickedness, and does not hate evil.

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