Understanding Psalm 36:1-4

Q. I’m currently reading the Psalms. In Psalm 36:1, David says “An oracle is within my heart…” would the oracle be the Holy Spirit?

A. You’re apparently reading Psalm 36 from the NIV, which translates Psalm 36:1-4 as if David was receiving a divine communication or revelation concerning the sinfulness of a wicked person. The revelation was that there is no fear of God before a wicked man’s eyes. Such a man’s opinion of himself is too high to allow him to detect or hate his sin, or to realize that even his thoughts are evil. Several other translations agree with this rendering of Psalm 36:1-4.

But some translations put it a little differently, saying, “Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eye. For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated … and he does not abhor evil”.

Both renderings convey the same idea, that wicked people are blind to their own sinfulness and don’t realize that even the thoughts that precede their actions are evil. Since David wrote the psalms while under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we can assume that’s where his insight came from no matter which translation we prefer.

This has been an accurate description of unbelievers since the beginning of time. It explains why try as we might, we just can’t get through to some people. Until they realize they are sinners in need of a Savior, all our efforts at sharing the Gospel will fall on deaf ears, because they can’t see how it applies to them. In cases like this, our prayer that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes to their true nature is the only thing that will work.

Share Button