How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

—Psalm 36:7

Why were we created? Was it that we deserved to be created? How can nothing deserve something? There was a time when there was no human race. How therefore could a human race that hadn’t existed deserve something? How could a man that wasn’t yet created earn anything or pile up any merit? It couldn’t be so. God out of His goodness created us. Why were we not destroyed when we sinned? The only answer is that God, out of His goodness, spared us. The cordial, kind-intentioned God spared us.

Why would God the Eternal Son bleed for us? The answer is, out of His goodness and lovingkindness. “Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings” (Psalm 36:7). Why would God forgive me when I’ve sinned and then forgive me again and again? Because God out of His goodness acts according to that goodness and does what His loving heart dictates that He do. AOG046

Loving Father, I bow today in humble dependence on Your goodness, undeserving as I am. Amen. [1]

7[8] The rendering of the NEB—“Gods and men seek refuge in the shadow of thy wings”—is exegetically possible but cannot be the intended meaning. The NIV modifies this to “both high [ʾelōhîm] and low among men.” It seems that there is an antithesis drawn between God and human beings. The psalmist exclaims, “God, how priceless is your unfailing love [so that] human beings may find refuge in the shadow of your wings.” Notice also the ambivalence of the NIV: “Both high and low among men find [text note: Or love, O God! / Men find; or love! / Both heavenly beings and men / find] refuge in the shadow of your wings.” See Allen, 1:289: “how precious is your lovingkindness, O God, that human beings find refuge in the shadow of your wings.” See also Dahood, 1:217: “O Yahweh, how precious is your kindness! Gods and men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”[2]

36:7 Nothing that enters human life is more precious than the lovingkindness of God. It is eternal, sovereign, infinite, causeless, and unchanging. And nothing can ever separate the child of God from it. In 1743 John Brine wrote:

No tongue can fully express the infinitude of God’s love, or any mind comprehend it: it “passeth knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). The most extensive ideas that a finite mind can frame about Divine love are infinitely below its true nature. The heaven is not so far above the earth as the goodness of God is beyond the most raised conceptions which we are able to form of it. It is an ocean which swells higher than all the mountains of opposition in such as are the object of it. It is a fountain from which flows all necessary good to all those who are interested in it.

This is why the children of men find refuge under the shadow of His wings. Unfortunately, not all men choose to enjoy God’s loving protection. But the privilege is available to all, and people from every nation, class, and culture have found rest, refreshment, and safety under those incomparable wings.[3]

36:7 the shadow of Your wings. Although some would take this as referring to wings of the cherubim over the ark, it is probably more generally a reference to the protective care of a parent bird for its young (Dt 32:11; Pss 17:8; 91:4; Ru 2:12; cf. Jesus’ allusion to the word picture in Mt 23:37).[4]

36:7 How precious is The term yaqar means “precious,” “rare” (1 Sam 3:1), or “valuable” (1 Kgs 7:11). While God’s love is vast and all encompassing, it is as precious as a rare stone.[5]

36:7 wings. This seems to refer to the wings of the cherubim of God’s throne, as represented by the beings depicted as covering the ark of the covenant with their wings (Ex. 25:10–22). Otherwise, God is perceived as the protector of His people, like a mother bird who protects her young brood (cf. Ruth 2:12).[6]

[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 339). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 602). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 36:7). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 36:7). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 870). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.


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