God has nothing but love in mind for us. It is exquisite. God’s love for us is amazing. God is in a good mood. When we know how much our heavenly Father cares for us, we are eager to spend time with him. Every good thing we can imagine, and more is ours in God’s time.
Jesus challenges us to see how good God, our Father, is. Jesus came to reveal God’s goodness.
Here are the key ideas:
- God loves us in an exquisite way.
- God’s goal for us is to be eager to know his love.
- God has a banquet (God’s living word) where we can eat to our fill.
- God gives Eden water, i.e. eternal life.
- God is light and reveals everything to us.
Your steadfast love, Yahweh [O Lord], extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, Yahweh [O Lord].
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.
Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
There the evildoers lie fallen;
they are thrust down, unable to rise.
English Standard Version. (2016). (Psalm 36:5–12). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
King David turns to a contrasting portrait of Yahweh’s boundless love that provides a sure foundation for those who acknowledge their dependence on him. He praises Yahweh’s love that fills the whole of creation—reaching from heaven to earth, and on earth expanding from the mighty mountains to the great deep.
- Along the way, the psalmist brings together Yahweh’s “love” (ḥesed [“covenant loyalty”]) with his “faithfulness” (ʾemunah), “righteousness” (ṣidqah), and “justice” (mišpaṭ) to form a complete and secure foundation for human trust and dependence.
- The ignorant wicked know so little about Yahweh that they trust only in self-power and the illusion of self-control.
- The psalmist—and those who hear—have confidence to let themselves go into the loving, faithful, righteous, and just arms of God, who is concerned with the welfare of humans but preserves “both man and beast”.
How priceless is your unfailing love! Despite the passing mention of Yahweh’s righteousness and justice as important foundations of trust, it is clearly Yahweh’s “unfailing love” that occupies the psalmist here.
- The enduring love that filled heaven and earth is proclaimed as “priceless”. The precious character of that love is understood in terms of its effects on humans.
- It is a source of protection and refuge for “both high and low among men” but goes far beyond this to provide “abundance” of delight.
- This description borders with the paradisiacal pleasures of the creation, but it also connects with the eschatological banquets anticipated in the last times.
- Humans are welcomed like honored houseguests and treated to all the abundance and pleasure the householder can afford.
Not only does Yahweh’s love provide abundant pleasures, but it also offers access to the life-sustaining refreshment of the “river of delights” and the “fountain of life”. The connections are even more explicit in the reference to Yahweh’s “river of delights”. Eschatological concerns return in the reference to the “fountain of life”, which is closely related to the “spring of living water” in Jeremiah 2:13; 7:13—a picture of Yahweh as the source of life, which the Israelites are accused of having forsaken in favor of leaky cisterns dug by their own power.
In your light we see light. The experience of God on these terms is enlightening. The ignorance and arrogance attributed to the wicked in verses 1–4 are washed away in a flood of awareness of the trustworthy character of Yahweh. The dark of doubt is driven away by the light of God’s love revealed.
It is possible once again to find connections between God’s light and both creation and eschatological imagery. Light is, of course, the first act of creation, distinct from sun, moon, and stars, vanquishing darkness and beginning the defeat of chaos. In Revelation 21:23–24, the new Jerusalem is lighted by the glory of God and the Lamb, no longer requiring the pallid illumination provided by sun, moon, and stars. The light of divine illumination opens the eyes of the psalmist and those who follow his lead to the amazing abundance of Yahweh’s life-giving love, which eludes the blind and ignorant wicked.
Source: Wilson, G. H. (2002). Psalms (Vol. 1, pp. 592–594). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.