In Your Light
(7) How precious (is) your steadfast love, O God! The children of men seek refuge in the shadow of your wings. (8) They are filled up from the abundance of your house, and you give them to drink from the river of your delights, (9) for with you (is) the fountain of life. In your light we see light. (10) Prolong your steadfast love to those who know you and your righteousness to the upright in heart. (11) Let not the foot of pride come upon me nor the hand of the wicked drive me away. (12) See, how the evildoers have fallen, are cast down, and are not able to rise.
One repetition found in these verses is the double use of “light” (vs. 9). In this brief expression, “In your light we see light,” are contained two truths more fully explained elsewhere in Scripture and considered more fully in the application section below. First, God is the source of all light: “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1:5). Then, God is the one who illumines our hearts: “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).
In this concluding half of Psalm 36, David picks up where he left off (vss. 5 & 6) with an emphasis on God’s “steadfast love” (used twice in vss. 7 & 10) and his “righteousness” (found in vs. 10 as in vs. 6). In these verses the psalmist focuses on God’s dealings with those who know him personally (vs. 10). Verses 8 & 9 vividly portray how God blesses those who take refuge in him with three phrases expressing abundance: “filled up” (vs. 8), “drink from the river of delights” (vs. 8), and “the fountain of life” (vs. 9). In the final two verses David again prays regarding evildoers who are seeking his ruin, asking God to protect him (vs. 11) and anticipating their downfall (vs. 12).
I. God provides for us out of his steadfast love. (7-10)
II. God protects us from evildoers. (11 & 12)
Our righteous God amply provides for us out of his steadfast love while graciously protecting us from the wicked.
The phrase, “in your light we see light” (Ps. 36:9), deserves more consideration. God desires that we understand his truth whether revealed in creation, human history, the Scriptures, or in the person of his Son. However, our hearts, darkened by sin, are incapable of comprehending his truth without his enablement. Paul used the poetic phrase, “For now we see through a glass, darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12 KJV), to describe the limits of our perception. In short, we need God’s light (enlightenment) to see his light (revealed truth).
The doctrine of Illumination sets forth one of the vital ministries of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. Paul spent nearly half a chapter dealing with this truth (1 Cor. 2:9-16), expanding on the principle expressed in the opening statement: “However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’ – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit” (vss. 9 & 10). He then stated, “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” (vs. 12). In his conclusion, he summarized this teaching with a question and answer: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (vs. 16).
Without the work of the Holy Spirit, we would never have understood the Gospel in the first place. Apart from the Spirit’s illumination, we could never comprehend the truths God has revealed to us on the pages of Scripture. Without the light of the Holy Spirit, we would never grasp what Jesus Christ has accomplished for us by his earthly life, his atoning death, and his resurrection, namely our great salvation. We would literally have been left in the dark unless God’s illuminating Spirit had given us light. We should never cease to give thanks that the third person of the Trinity has flooded our hearts and minds with God’s wonderful light, and we should always be seeking to understand more of what he desires to reveal to us.