June 22, 2016


Psalm 36:1-2 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.

Reading this passage instantly brings to mind quite a number of public figures of various occupations. However, that’s simply because they are indeed public figures; their activities are well known. This passage is descriptive of a lot of anonymous people as well. The Japanese has a very interesting take on the very first part. Rather than talking about “an oracle within my heart,” it says, “Sin speaks in the heart of the evil person.” That would be in line with Paul personifying sin various places in Romans. “For sin shall not be your master,” (Romans 6:14) comes to mind. Sin does talk to us, and if we listen, we get into deep trouble. The devil lies to us (of course) and says that listening to sin is “doing what comes naturally,” deflecting our attention from the truth that God’s rules are for our good, always. Chemical addictions are a good case in point, but they are actually no more damaging than many other kinds of sin. We indeed tend to flatter ourselves too much to recognize our sin for what it is. It is only when we are humbly honest before God that we can discern our sin rightly and repent of it, for God to forgive us and set us free. 1 John 1:9 is of utmost importance , because it talks about not only confessing our sins to God, but also of God cleansing us from all unrighteousness. In Biblical times cleansing was closely related to healing, as the stories of Jesus healing lepers demonstrate. As songs like Go Tell It on the Mountain say, sin makes our souls sick. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse and heal us.

My first response to this passage as I read it was to think of all the prominent people today who are so accurately described here, but as I wrote I was reminded that I too am vulnerable to being deceived by sin. (Romans 7:11) Focusing on others’ sin is a trap to keep me from recognizing my own. I am not to fail to call sin what it is, but I am never to think I myself am immune to it. The only way to wear the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) is to walk in personal humility, knowing that I can do nothing good apart from Jesus Christ. (John 15:5) The world is full of horrible examples of what it is like to fail to do that, and I must not be one of them.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that the evil acts of many are being exposed. I pray that exposure would bring them to repentance. May I always speak Your truth in love, and not just speak it but walk it out consistently, so that as many as possible may be drawn to repentance and faith, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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