Psalm 36:10-11    Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart.  May the foot of the proud not come against me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
King David is writing this wonderful Psalm from a position of feeling acutely the pressure on his personal faith and trust in God being threatened by the evil and godlessness of the society in which he dwells.  I guess most of us can identify closely with him in this as we interact with our own culture, and experience how difficult it is to make our voice heard among all the competing worldviews being expressed, both openly and tacitly but constantly, throughout the media that is so hard to escape from in this age of technology!

Those who have been reading TQW for a number of years will not be surprised to hear that the Hebrew word translated ‘love’ in verse 10 is ‘chesed’, a word that needs other English words added to do it justice: ‘mercy’, kindness’, ‘compassion’, ‘tenderness’, ‘grace’, etc.  It is the last of three times it occurs in this Psalm (cf 5, where it ‘reaches to the heavens’, and 7, where it is ‘priceless’ and ‘unfailing’).  It is the ‘love’ that binds God’s Covenant People to himself in an exclusive, intimate, unbreakable relationship of which human marriage is meant to be an expression.  The Hebrew word translated ‘know’ in this verse has an appropriate depth of meaning, as in “Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived, and bare [sic] Cain …” (Genesis 4:1, KJV).

Taking general Biblical theology into account, when David writes of ‘those who know you’, his overriding thought is not that we ‘know’ God as much as that he knows us.  As the Apostle John will write after experiencing the utterly amazing depth of God’s love in the death and resurrection of his Son, The Lord Jesus Christ: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

So, in the light of David’s earnest and desperate prayer, I want to join with him and pray that the LORD will ‘continue to draw out/stretch out/extend’ (which the NIV translates simply as ‘continue’) his covenant love to me, the unworthy sinner, whom he has bound firmly to himself, by grace, in a Covenant relationship through Christ my Saviour, especially when the world around me seems to be trying its hardest, both subtly and overtly, to separate me from him.

“Loved with everlasting love, led by grace that love to know; Spirit, breathing from above, you have taught me it is so. O this full and perfect peace!, O this presence so divine! In a love which cannot cease, I am his, and he is mine”  (George Wade Robinson).  “Tell me the same old story when you have cause to fear that this world’s empty glory is costing me too dear; yes, and when that world’s glory shall dawn upon my soul, tell me the old, old story: ‘Christ Jesus makes thee whole’” (Kate Hankey).

– Bruce Christian