66 people were shot over the weekend in Chicago, just one evil among many constantly reported to us. Psalm 36 begins with the psalmist reflecting on wicked people.
An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin. The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good. Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong.
The wicked act as if no one is watching. On the back of a one dollar bill is the all-seeing eye. What a small mind to imagine you can hide anything from God! People explain the fear of God as reverence but it begins with terror that we are accountable for everything we do. God is always watching, judging…and waiting for us to “detect” and “hate” our own sin, as the psalm says. In the self-examination of daily repentance terror becomes reverence and awe at God’s loving-kindness. That’s true “fear of God” and it has consequences. “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God” (Psalm 39:9).
After complaining about people who show no fear of God, the psalmist immediately turns his thoughts to God. While the person who doesn’t fear God “commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong,” “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens.” In Christian meditation we do get things off our chest. We do vent about problems and evil, but the attitude changer is when you turn from yourself and other people to the loving kindness God gives us in Jesus Christ, “who takes away the sin of the world,” ours included (John 1:29). One day all eyes will see that. For now, the heavenly Father’s eye is on us.