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An Oracle

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
October 28, 2021 8:00 am

An Oracle

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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October 28, 2021 8:00 am

Deceit or delight? We have a choice! Today, we’re taking a closer look at Psalm 36, where David describes the ways of the wicked, in contrast with the righteousness of God. We can choose the path of deceit, or we can pursue God’s ways. When we commit ourselves to following God, His unending faithfulness and unfailing love are our reward.

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Do seats or delight today on the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce were taking a closer look at Psalm 36 where David describes the ways of the wicked. In contrast with the righteousness of God.

We can choose the path of deceived or we can pursue God's ways. When we commit ourselves to following God's unending faithfulness and unfailing love are our reward. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Have you ever wondered why evil seems to thrive unchecked by those who choose wickedness don't always have to pay for it when we choose God. We don't need to worry or keep score.

He's are just righteous and loving God. If you have your Bible now turn to Psalm 36 were studying Psalm 36 so I invite you to turn in your Bibles to write have that before you Psalm that's a lot like Psalm one you ever memorized Psalm one you know that it has very simple structure. It traces the ways of the righteous and the wicked, and then it contrasts their ends at the same sort of thing we have here but we have two differences. One thing the order is reversed in Psalm one.

You have first, the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked, and finally a statement of the rents and this all you have. First, the way of the wicked in the way of the righteous. And finally, Karen selects the first difference and the second is this is not second section section, which in Psalm 1 Corresponding Way would deal with the way the righteous in this Psalm. The emphasis of so much on the righteous, as it is on the character of God deals with the righteous, in part, in terms of their relationship to him, but the emphasis really is, upon God and God's attributes significant than going to see little bit more clearly why as we go along. The psalmist describes an Oracle notice very first words say in Oracle is a very common word in the Old Testament, though it's often translated another way because I suppose hundreds of times in the Old Testament. The interesting thing however is that in most other cases, the vast majority what that word Oracle occurs it's followed by the name of God, Jehovah, or its equivalent in the way you translate that is to say, this is an Oracle of Jehovah. This is Jehovah's Oracle word from God. The interesting thing about this Psalm is that the word Oracle here is not followed by the name of God, but by the word transgression translated sinfulness in the new international version. So if that's to be taken in the same way it was sound like sinfulness or this is evil speaking, that is the way the King James translators rendered their translation says if you have a King James Bible you know this transgression of the wicked, saith within my heart there is no fear of God before his eyes. That's a puzzling way to speak, of course, and your sense as you read the older commentators that they struggle with it to find some meaning like I have a translation. One of the commentators that I found very helpful from a century or more ago is a man by the name of Perrone. He writes this way. Transgression here is personified and its representatives honoring its councils to the wicked man or commentator on a gable line says the wicked carries in his bosom, and Oracle. Well, aside from the fact that that's kind of awkward. It does require a change in the text which really is and supported you have to change the words my heart to his heart.

Transgression is doing this within the heart of the wicked isn't what the text sets was a bit of a problem. There is a very good solution, however, and that's to recognize that what we have here is probably an objective genitive rather than a subjective genitive. I been preaching as you know in the morning on what I regard to some of the most difficult teachings in the Bible, election reprobation, the justification of God.

In so doing, and the number of people of said to me afterwards.

I don't mind the difficult theology. What I hate is when you go into that subjective objective genitive that I can follow that all. Well, maybe that's harder for some people, but let me say it's a very simple matter if it's a subjective genitive than sinfulness is the subject that's a way of saying wickedness is speaking is an object of genitive, then wickedness or sinfulness is the object of the article in the translation would be the way the new international version renders it an article about sinfulness or concerning sinfulness seems to me that's the best and most obvious way to take it and that in my case at least, here's a place where the new international version really has improved upon the text we had earlier.

David is saying here is that God has given him an insight deep within his heart into what is really wrong with the wicked. You sometimes ask yourself that question. You see evil being gone on to say what's wrong with that person like that. Can't I see that's destructive for, or error living a lifestyle which is harmful not only to other people, themselves, can't they wake up and see if I want what's wrong with a person in that category well. David says here's the insight. This is what God has told me that the problem with the wicked is this there is no fear of God before his eyes. That's really profound. This Psalm is profound. But this is profound in exactly the same way. The first chapter of Romans is provide about us in the first chapter of Romans is analyze the ungodliness and wickedness of man and he's trying to say why are people like that and what is the course of those who are, and he says the reason people are like that is that they won't have the knowledge of God. They do everything possible to suppress that knowledge balance talking about natural revelation where which the Psalm is not Paul says in Romans one.

Everybody has a certain kind of knowledge of God, they know there is a God there problem is I don't like that modeling so they do everything they can to suppress it. Every time God pushes himself in upon their consciousness through nature or through any other way they turn their back on that they try to hold it down because I don't like the God is there to be no and then as a result of that lantern up on a downward path as individuals and as a culture which Paul blocks out in Romans one by saying God gave them up. God gave them up. God gave them often at the end they come to the point where they're going good evil and evil good, now in its own way. This is what Psalm 36 is saying saying the chief problem of sinful men and women is that there is no fear of God before their eyes. What is that mean it simply means I don't want to regard God. They don't want to take them into account in their actions.

It's just what you have in Psalm 14 may recall that Psalm 14 talks about the fool and is not that one. It was behaving as a fool and some outwardly silly why this is.

Amanda was a fool, spiritually and morally because he says in his heart there is no God person like that might you press them acknowledge that there's a deity somewhere, but the difficulty is that person doesn't act on the basis of their being one so he or she conducts all his life, as if the only thing that really matters in this life is himself or herself, and how well the person does.

David says that's the problem with the wicked.

You push God out. Well then anything can come in and anything well and mostly it will be things that will lead you in a downhill path. As we talked about next I don't know how far this article is supposed to extend it might be that it's only that one expression. There is no fear of God before his eyes that might be the Oracle and the rest of it might be working out of the principal on the other hand, the Oracle may go on because what David describes in verses two through four is is downhill path how it operates. Verse two in his own eyes. He flatters himself and goes on to say too much to detect or hate sin like the matter of flattery first.

What that really means is that this individual who pushes God out of his Verizon puts himself in God's place, he becomes the center of his own universe, and he flatters himself. That's where he stands on a strange kind of self-deception that is for any mere human being to think that he or she is the center of all things we operated that way.

Most people operate exactly that way everything in my world should conform to their desires and that is just deception of the greatest magnitude.

This is the kind of text that a preacher like Jonathan Edwards just loved.

You can imagine what Jonathan Edwards did with that he started in all the ways we deceive ourselves, and he came up with eight of them and I will give you only says about them but liquor some of the ways people won't have God deceive themselves sometimes themselves, says Edwards with a secret hope that there's no such thing as another world is no God is no other world why should you worry about it. All you have to do is live here and now to some flatter themselves that death is a great way off. I think that a long time to live. I don't know how quickly the slide by. Well that somewhere down the road. I don't have to worry about that now that's a self-deception when you make yourself the center number three. Some flatter themselves that they lead moral in order to lives, and therefore they think that they shall not be damned, and was a great way of using words and they never held his punches. He always told as it is. People say well I'm doing pretty well. I am a moral person because I don't really have God before their eyes.

To measure their conduct.

They think they're doing as well. Some days going to have to accept exactly the way because I'm such a nice person.

I don't even recognize the fact that their wife probably doesn't think you're a nice person or their husband or their children to their neighbors and mouthing the God is going to announce a kind of judgment on them number for some make the advantages under which they live in the creation of self flattering. I've been privileged in life well and they say I'm doing all right. Number five. Some flatter themselves with their own intentions they think intentions are good enough, whether or not they achieve the number six. There are some flatter themselves that they do and have done a great deal for their own salvation. Seven somehow by their strivings to obtain salvation of themselves. Number eight some sinners flatter themselves that they are already converted.

Edwards had many socks in his church in the great awakening that took place under his ministry was when all of those people who had diluted themselves to think that all was well with their souls began to wake up and realize they were in safe people and so the revival came out those deceptions. According to Edward work practiced by people that were sitting in his churches and that was the case, what are we to say with the world outside which is the way the psalmist is thinking. And there's no fear of God before your eyes. You always flatter yourself and deceive yourself and yourself. Flattery is a second thing person like that is to deceive the detector hate his sin is bad enough to be unable to resist sin when it comes along. But, nevertheless, recognize that sin some hope for a person like that. But here says David is one who is sliding away from God because he won't have God and as a result, again, even this seven can't attack the course. He Stated it's a step further down along the path of this verse three.

The next stage is person who no longer can detector hate sin finds himself unable to speak the truth, unable to be wise, unable to do good. Of course, because he is no standard against which to measure right and wrong is the next thing now on his bed. He plots evil is not content to do evil.

During the day works and over in his mind at night so when he gets up in the morning he will find himself, as we say off to a running start on the way to hell. Of course, but nevertheless you see doing it with all his vigor and then finally notice this, he commits himself to a sinful course and he does not reject what is wrong. I think when we get to that last stage does not reject what is wrong we probably are at an Old Testament equivalent of what we find that the very end of Romans one is not merely an analogy that the same theology is here as they are because Paul actually quotes from the Psalm of the third chapter of Romans. When he begins to sum up what he said in the first two chapters in chapter 3 he quotes the second half of verse two in the 18th verse of the third chapter, there is no fear of God before his eyes. So Paul probably was thinking about this chapter, and I would imagine probably consciously somewhat hiring what he said upon it is a what what we have here is an analysis of the problem of the wicked in the path of the wicked, which is downhill exactly what we find in Romans one when you get to the end. Here in verse four it says he does not reject what is wrong.

I think that brings us to the place to come at the very end of Romans one because what Paul is talking about. There is how one who pursues sin rather than God eventually comes to be in the deranged mind were spiritual things are concerned, the way he talks about it is to say a person like that has a depraved mind, but what he means by that is what he explains in verse 32. They not only do what's wrong with a approve of those who do what's wrong and what that means is that a person like this is calling something wrong, good saying I approve of that that's the way to go. By contrast, what is good. He calls evil because that's foolish to go that way and what is truth, the gospel asserted what is false what he calls truth see why you can use the word deranged of anybody was thinking that way we have a word for it. We say a person who can tell what's up or down or right or wrong or black or white person like that is crazy and that's exactly the point you say doesn't mean that all the wicked are spiritually out of their minds because some at least still understand that there is such a thing is and they haven't gone that far along the path you don't have God before your mind.

If there's no fear of God before your eyes. As David says well and that's the direction that you're heading in sooner or later you end up where both the Psalm and Romans one say we do know that point in verse five we have an abrupt transition. You know anything about biblical criticism. You know that abrupt transitions are enough to set all of the liberal scholars to say what you have here are two separate Psalms are rather awkwardly combined by an editor to do that because you see if the editors stupid than they appear bright and they're solving the problem which nobody is saying all down through church history. It is abrupt. Of course, but that's the way it's done in many of the songs and it's not done inappropriately is what happens when a person who knows God is contemplating the wicked, he can only as a work contemplated for so long you can analyze sin and evil and you can say why are people doing what they're doing and and you can be distressed over that you can trace out what's happening in their lives and you can warn them against it. Sooner or later.

If you know God, you can keep going down along that road, even in your mind.

And so what you want to do is turn back to God and say all thank God that God is God like that and not like the way of the wicked.

That's the transition that's what David does stocked about the wicked in their course now is a worry. Mrs. eyes to heaven, and he says your Volvo Lord reaches to the heavens. Your faithfulness to the skies gland that he knows a God like that that is the opposite of what he said is the problem with the wicked. There is no fear of God before their eyes. But for David God before his eyes. That's what he's thinking about and so he begins to unfold terrace the majestic attributes of this God number of them here in verses five and six. Four of them love, faithfulness, righteousness and justice of the most important as well because it's repeated three times to find it verse five and then again in verse seven assorted begins and ends the series and then you find it at the end of the summation down there in verse 10 continue your love to those who know you love is almost a week translation though it's hard to say that of a word like love, we understand anything about love.

It's not weak but this great Hebrew word said actually means this steadfast store unfailing love. Sometimes it's translated loving kindness you see in the seventh verse where it occurs again. The translators of added the word unfailing because that's really the idea that's the greatest of all concept because it embraces all the others embraces love and compassion and wisdom and mercy and grace all of those things that are so lovable about our God says oh I'm glad that God is like that because you see if God were not loving and had not reached out and made himself known to me I would be going on the path of the wicked got his lovemaking set his love upon me. That's why when he gets to verse 10 he says continue your love those who know you thought that he doubts that God will nobody wants to continue in that path. Secondly, talks about faithfulness, your faithfulness reaches to the skies. That's an important characteristic of God to because you see is wonderful this is. Love isn't it wasn't a steadfast continuing our faithful love. While it would be nice but it would be nice for the time only, so we'd say well I'm glad God loves me but will he continue to do so says oh yes, God is faithful. His faithfulness extends to the skies, just as his love reaches to the heavens whenever it skies it appears I I don't think it means that faithfulness is to be found in the skies because God is in the skies that might be one way of thinking, but combined with what he says in the first half of the verse really really means to say is that the love of God and the faithfulness of God are without limits me to talk about the faithfulness of God, where the commentator says you can't really talk about the faithfulness of God without talking about the word of God, because the way in which God is faithful is that he is faithful to his promises. That is faithful to his own character, but we would know that in terms of his expression of the character. Also, God says, I pitched my love upon you, and that's a steadfast love.

I'm faithful and I promise God says I will keep you as the sun does under the shadow of my wings. That's a promise. And God is faithful in keeping his promises you want to know more about the faithfulness of God. The way to know about it is to study the Bible because it's in the Bible that God speaks to us and as you learn what God says in the Bible, and then live the Christian life in that white what you discover is that God never violates any of his promises are of course things come into our lives. We don't understand we have already seen, as we study the Psalms of their difficulties. David went through hard times. Just as we do.

But the Bible is a promise that we will be spared hard times what it does promises that God will keep us through the hard time so you want to know more about the faithfulness of God. The thing to do is study his word. Learn his promises memorize those passages then you'll see how God carries them out in your life day by day. The first thing he mentions about God is his righteousness, and again it's the same sort of thing. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains.

You see, in each case, he's trying to say.

These attributes of God are beyond mere human comprehension. The love of God is something that we can just easily understand or hang onto life reaches to the heavens is without limits of the same thing with his faithfulness and his righteousness white. It's like the mountains almost beyond our comprehension. The same thing is true of his justice is like the great deep he looks up he looks down a list of that which is most stable and he says God is like that God like that in all these respects when he talks about justice I think is not talking about the final judgment and when he talks about righteousness. He is not doing that either he's talking about in this Psalm is a present experience of these things and I think what he means by that is God operates in a righteous way. Any operates in a just way now does that in our lives. We will see that as we live with them and come to know him. Now he's talked about four attributes of God and what is going to do in the latter half of this stanza is talk about for blessings to the righteous. You find it in verses eight and nine in between what he says is this.

He says this love and faithfulness and righteousness and justice of God is displayed. Everyone but Kelly puts it, the Lord, to preserve both man and beast that is the whole sensible created order.

How priceless is your unfailing love, both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your way. Not saying that this is something that's just hidden what he say this, that there's a sense in which it's displayed is the character of God and seeing everywhere but I see there is a difference between those who do what the righteous do. And those who do what the wicked the wicked have no fear of God before their eyes, and therefore they go their own way, they won't have God righteous who, by the grace of God come to know him take shelter with God and as a result of that they have all the blessings that are expressed in ETA nine.

First of all, they feast on the abundance of your house saying there is that they're satisfied that would be our word for it uses the word abundance is at house that is talking about some of the commentator say well that must be the house of God the temple and those who are liturgically minded say, well, they had great celebration feast spare in the temple. Well maybe they did. Some would say the house of God's heaven is what Jesus was talking about a set of my father's house there are many mansions, are many rooms. I'm going to prepare a place for you.

There I suppose that would be one way of looking at it because they want to start is talking about here.

It is not something special for those who go to the temple are not something that the righteous are going to enjoy only in heaven. This is talking about a present abundance. You save those who are living here now and what that means, I think, then, is that the house is actually the world God's created what he saying here is that your people know you and going your way actually enjoy the abundance of what God's made very well. I am a very wealthy person in terms of the world abundance. I don't have much well thank God for that. We will have a lot of the world's goods get into trouble with it.

You know how difficult it is to have a lot of money.

That's why Jesus said it's hard for a rich man to enter into heaven. It's not impossible, but is not easy to say but then how can it be that I with my limited substance can have all this abundance of the text is speaking of. You can have it in the sense it is yours right now you got a sunset out there you have to pay money for a sunset. That's part of God's house and you can enjoy it.

Enjoy it better if you know the God created it. Thank you for you can look upon any beautiful.

See you can enjoy and a wonderful holiday. You can spend time in the company of your friends you can say God is given all of this to me. We have a saying we say there are things that are too precious to buy with money and you see those things that are abundant and there made increasingly abundant for those who know God, the world could enjoy them in the sense you say with those who have the fear of God before their eyes, and recognize that these things come from God can enjoy them in enormous measure. I remember how John Gerstner explained that once when he was here for one of the PCR to see been driving into town in order to get Aaron a Friday night. I think he had the opening address he said as he came in on the Schuylkill Expressway in front of him. That was a car and in the back of that because that was a little pool that belittles up on the back ledge looking out the back window and John Gerstner was looking at the poodle and he said he just enjoyed that poodle the hallway and he said that Google is my poodle as long as I was driving along the expressway and it would've been anymore. My mind if I paid a lot of money for see how I've work for you and I are really in the position. The David is here.

There's a sense in which all there is is ours to enjoy for our new enjoy it. Many says you give them drink from your river of delights of the first talks about satisfaction. The second is really talking about joy is an interesting feature about that word delights is plural for the word Eden know the garden of Eden where Adam and Eve lived before the fall in perfect harmony and joy.

I think that's what he's referring to when he says you give them drink from your river of delights, using the word Eden. I think he's looking back to the garden. That however is a very rich image in Scripture throughout the song you by references to the river of God flowing forth from his throne said theme toward the end of the book of Ezekiel, you find it at the very end of Revelation. It's a river of salvation and blessing. And Jesus said say the one who comes to me out of him shall come forth a spring river of living water all at the same idea joy and satisfaction. Verse nine is one of the greatest statements in the Old Testament with you is the fountain of life in your white we see light and see light from the light of the world because the light of the world is darkness and we don't find life in the world. What we find in the world is death. But God is the source of both life and light. The apostle John certainly was thinking of this when he wrote his prologue to the gospel only very does something wonderful.

Usually he's talking about God being the fountain of life and light, but what he talks about in the prologue is the expression of God and the character of Jesus Christ. The second person of the Trinity and he said in him was life and the life was the light of man, both ideas usually I'm sure he was thinking about this.

What's he talking about when he talks about life. John's talking about physical life. On the one hand, because he's just said nothing came into being, that was not made by him all things were made by him, and he's talking about spiritual life to because later on in the passage he explains how we become children of God, not by anything in ourselves but by God's gift. We are made alive in him all of that in Jesus Christ to say I don't think this David wrote this song that he was thinking of Jesus Christ think he was thinking of a present enjoyment of life, understanding and wisdom of all of those things, but is nevertheless true that the fulfillment of it is in the coming of our Lord. That brings me to the end. What we find in verses 10 through 12 is David's prayer that those who know God. That is, those who have the fear of God before their eyes might continue in his love, and that God might protect them against the wicked very last verse, verse 12 looks ahead prophetically to the fall of the wicked see how evildoers life all and he says thrown down, unable to rise to see those who come to that position. That is, trusting in God as we find it in the end of those who do what Davis talked about in verse seven there are those who find refuge in the shadow of God's wings is not a beautiful picture find refuge in the shadow of your wings that word refuge is a very strong one.

You know that in the Old Testament there were the cities of refuge of somebody had accidentally killed somebody was guilty as we would say of manslaughter. They were in danger of being killed by an avenger of blood. It was a duty of families in those days, wrongly understood but nevertheless perceive that they had to kill a lot of guilder Kinsman, whether it was an innocent thing or not but what God provided were cities of refuge scattered throughout the land and the person was guilty of a crime like that in the land click click fast that city of refuge he be taken in there and be safe because the avenger of blood could natter and he was safe there, the high priest died that he was free to go, didn't apply to murderers orders would be delivered over to justice with somebody who was in danger of being killed danger of losing his wife could flee just that matter. That's the word you say and what this is saying is that those who are blessed to enjoy all these things are those who have fled to God for just that kind of refuge apart from him. We are not only like the wicked were in danger of the judgment, which is going to fall upon them the wages of sin is death were going to experience that. But if will flee to Jesus Christ will find shelter in him shelter from everything shelter from the wrath of God.

Because Jesus is the provision of salvation from that wrath shelter from the wrath of man, able protect us shelter for many, many other things. And above all comfort as he takes us to himself in such a personal and warm way.

Tragedy, you say is that so many monthly to that refuge. The refuge is there provided for us, but many won't, you know what Jesus said in Luke chapter 1334 he looked out over that great city of Jerusalem days before his crucifixion and he said all Jerusalem Jerusalem. How often what I have gathered you to myself like a hen gathers her chicks beneath your wings but you would not you did not know the hour of your visitation say that's a very sad thing was true than I am sorry to say it happens again and again in our day as well. There are times visitation when the Holy Spirit speaks and says yes, now is the time now is the day of salvation flee to Jesus, take shelter under the shadow of his wings, and there are thousands and thousands of don't know that our and failed to do it. So the day of opportunity passes by.

David is not looking ahead to Jesus Christ in the song, but we are no Jesus Christ look back and can see the fulfillment in that way you want to know what the Psalm is about the place to begin is by taking shelter in the Lord's prayer father bless this study to us.

We thank you for these words: David's so expressive. The dangers of the sinful life friend of the blessings of those who take shelter and you.

Those who find you to be loving and faithful and righteous. Just all your ways we would pray that you would so work can our midst. In this hour, many who hear this might turn from their sin to Jesus Christ. Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars and churchmen who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church. To learn more about the alliance visit alliance net.org and while you're there, visit our online store reformed resources.

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