This particular psalm is one that speaks many comforting words to us. “How precious is Your steadfast love, O God!” “With You is the fountain of life.” You’ve probably heard these words in contemporary Christian music: “Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God.” These are wonderful, worshipful words of life.
And yet, that’s not how the psalm begins. David kicks things off by talking about the sin of the wicked. In truth, David creates an awareness of the darkness that can be found lurking within all of us. He does this before he ever gets into those lofty words of praise to God. Take a look at verses 1-4.
“Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart.” Apart from Christ, there is something broken within us. Sin has a hold on us. It speaks to us and changes the way we see the world and the people around us. It turns us inward, as verse 2 states: “He flatters himself in his own eyes.” It causes us to act out of foolishness and selfishness rather than “acting wisely”, as is mentioned in verse 3. Sinful behavior becomes both an active and a passive thing, according to verse 4. Without Christ, we set ourselves “in a way that is not good”. That’s active rebellion. Without Christ, we do not “reject evil”. That’s a passive stance toward sin.
Be aware of the sin lurking beneath the surface. God told Cain in Genesis 4, “Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you.” We should always make it our priority to worship God, to put our attention on Him, and to seek His will. But if we fail to take notice of the sin poisoning our own lives, our worship becomes nothing more that white noise. May your prayer this week be that of David in Psalm 139: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! See if there be any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”