Contrasts… We get used to the usual ones… Try these on for size: Black and ??? Rich and ??? Wise and ??? Young and ???
What contrasting words came to your mind? White? Poor? Foolish? Old? Well then, you pretty normal… That’s what most people would choose.
But occasionally in the Bible you come across a surprising contrast. How about this one… Wicked and ???
Did you choose “righteous?” I did! But in Psalm 36 that is not what David chose, inspired as he was by the Holy Spirit… He chose a surprising, but wonderful, contrast! He reached way past our human, usual way of thinking, all the way to God’s impeccable, holy, character for his contrast to the wickedness of man… He chose God’s “steadfast love” – His covenant keeping love – to use the Hebrew word, His “Hesed!”
Here’s the contrast, right out of the Bible…
The wicked… “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.” (Psalm 36:1–4 ESV)
And the surprising, stunning, contrast? Not the way of “the righteous” – a human contrast! Instead the “steadfast love” – the covenant keeping love – the “Hesed” of God!
“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. Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart!” (Psalm 36:5–10 ESV)
Oh what a contrast! I’m stunned by it – but relishing it, savoring it, embracing it today! In fact it brings an old hymn to mind…
“The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
“Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
“Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.”
What a contrast, eh?