I was digging through some old files and found this, and realized I never have released these on my blog. This is close to four years old now, but it is essentially a reflection on a few verses from Psalm 36, taking it word by word, phrase by phrase. Hopefully, you find it edifying…
Psalms 36:5-7 KJV
Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
Thy– We begin this meditation zeroing in on a pronoun which designates a person outside of me, and it is a possessive pronoun, meaning, this other individual possesses something. The posture of this text is focused on something outside of “me.”
Mercy– Webster defines mercy as, “That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.” While our earthly understanding of mercy is that it is the overlooking of offense, and choosing to inflict less punishment upon a guilt party, the biblical word here designates a zealous passion and ardor to not just overlook offense, but to give, impart and bestow most tender love and goodness. Let’s simply connect these first two words, and observe that this mercy–which overlooks our utter lack of merit and deserving–is what belongs to this party outside of ourselves. Meaning, Someone other than us has a deep, and passionate lovingkindness which they possess and zealously long to give.
O– a word of exclamation, a monosyllabic groan, a cue to take note of deep emotion connected to the statements to follow.
LORD– with deep reverence the covenant name, the holy name, the Name above all names, containing and enunciating the perfections of the One to Whom the Name belongs is uttered. And that Name is never used in vain, nor is it just scratches of ink on a scroll, it stands for the One Being. The First Cause. The Originator. The Ruler. The Great One. I AM THAT I AM, YAHWEH, JEHOVAH, Jesus, Father, Holy Spirit. The Self-existent one. The fullness of the Godhead. This passionate and zealous desire to do good, notwithstanding the lack of merit found in the object of that precious gift of mercy, belongs to this Great and Mighty person. The Someone outside of us that we have been postured to behold and study is the great God of Israel, but it is with sacred wonder that David whispers this Holy Name, and proclaims that this mercy is possessed by the Almighty God, whose name is never to be vainly used.
is– this is one of the most basic verbs, which shows us that something is in a state of being, the “something” in question is this passionate and undeserved mercy which belongs to Heaven’s King.
in– this preposition points us to the fact that this incredible mercy of the Sovereign Lord is found in someplace very specific. It indicates location/position.
the heavens– In the ancients’ understanding, the heaven’s were an unattainable height. They were the abode of stars, the great sphere upon which the course of the sun and moon were traced, the storehouse of wind, rain, cloud, sleet and snow, and it was understood to be the dwelling place of God Most High and His mighty angels. The Lord’s mercy–which is not based on human deserving, and is fervently given–resides in a state of being in the great heights of heaven, beyond the attainment of mere man. Meaning, we can never reach this mercy, it is in the high heaven’s of God.