Our Blessed Assurance in a Wicked World

In Andrew Peterson’s inspiring song, made popular by Chris Tomlin, the opening lines pose important questions with an antiphonal response:

            Do you feel the world is broken? We do.

            Do you feel the shadows deepen? We do

            But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through? We do.

            Do you wish that you could see it all made new? We do.[i]

The heart-wrenching burden of living among a dark and depraved society is not new in the human journey. Throughout history the destructive manifestations of godless hearts have been on full display. Yet the greater reality of God’s faithful love to His people has always been triumphant.

The heart-wrenching burden of living among a dark and depraved society is not new in the human journey. Throughout history the destructive manifestations of godless hearts have been on full display. Yet the greater reality of God’s faithful love to His people has always been triumphant.

David’s raw yet resolute reflections in Psalm 36 make this abundantly clear. As our staff prayed from this passage in our weekly meeting, we were reminded of the timeless relevance of God’s word and our reassurance in the transcendence of biblical truth in every age.

The Sinfulness of Secular Culture

The first four verses of Psalm 36 read like today’s top internet headlines. They are reminiscent of the opening reports on the evening news:

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; There is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; He does not reject evil.

As in David’s day, wickedness rules where there is no real fear of God. Self-deception and self-flattery serve as clever cover-ups for the depth of godless character. Popular speech is infused with deception. Goodness and wisdom are endangered. Minds plot continuously and hearts no longer reject evil (Psalm 36:1-2).

As in David’s day, wickedness rules where there is no real fear of God. Self-deception and self-flattery serve as clever cover-ups for the depth of godless character. Popular speech is infused with deception. Goodness and wisdom are endangered. Minds plot continuously and hearts no longer reject evil (Psalm 36:1-2).

So we should not be surprised by the depraved and disconcerting creep of secularism. But, neither should we be defeated. Rather, we can delight in the superabundance of God’s greater and gracious provision in our daily lives.

The Faithfulness of God’s Love

Notice David’s immediate change of focus and renewal of faith in vv. 5-9:

Your steadfast love, 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, 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.

Using powerful imagery from creation, David declares the greater realities of God’s steadfast love, abundant faithfulness, powerful righteousness, sure judgment, and abundant salvation. The encroaching creep of wickedness cannot quench the unstoppable treasure of God’s love or the calm assurance we embrace as we find our refuge in our great God.

When there is a famine of truth and integrity in the surrounding society there remains a feast of abundance provided by His indwelling presence. The Spirit’s unstoppable “river of delights” within us is greater than the threat of depravity around us.

When there is a famine of truth and integrity in the surrounding society there remains a feast of abundance provided by His indwelling presence. The Spirit’s unstoppable “river of delights” within us is greater than the threat of depravity around us.

The ever-available fountain of Christ’s life in us provides supernatural reassurance amid a world in rapid decline. The light of His life illumines our path and brings clarity to the confusion. In Him is life and His life is the light of men. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

The Continuousness of God’s Supply

So we must pray. We cry out as David did in vv. 10-11:

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.

We trust earnestly in God’s provision. We find blessed assurance in knowing that the steadfast supply of His love is ours as we press on to know the Lord, trusting Him humbly each day. The righteousness of His life in us empowers our victorious uprightness as we tread this sinful world.

We rely on Him for daily protection. Eugene Peterson phrased it this way: “Don’t let the bullies kick me around, the moral midgets slap me down” (The Message). Similarly, Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). No matter how fierce the onslaught of evil may become, we can declare as Paul did in the final ink drops of his last letter, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18).

No matter how fierce the onslaught of evil may become, we can declare as Paul did in the final ink drops of his last letter, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18).

The Conclusiveness of God’s Judgment

David concludes with a confident declaration of the ultimate outcome and final score:

There the evildoers lie fallen; they are thrust down, unable to rise (v. 12).

My friend, we know how the story of human history ends. We know who wins. We are safe in His arms, confident in His provision, and unshaken in the storm of society’s tumult. And through it all, we stay on mission declaring the gospel of His love, faithfulness, righteousness, and judgment to all who will listen and, in Christ, join us on the sure journey to eternal life.

We know how the story of human history ends. We know who wins. We are safe in His arms, confident in His provision, and unshaken in the storm of society’s tumult. And through it all, we stay on mission declaring the gospel of His love, faithfulness, righteousness, and judgment to all who will listen and, in Christ, join us on the sure journey to eternal life.

Copyright © 2019 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.

[i] Words and Music by Andrew Peterson and Ben Shive. ©2018 JakeDog Music. CCLI Song #7108951.  See https://www.strategicrenewal.com/2019/07/30/is-he-worthy/ for a helpful prayer guide based on this song.