Psalm 57:4-5 “My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts—the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!”
My wife tells me I’m prone to exaggeration – like the size of the fish I catch (or lose), or the size of the bucks I see. Maybe she’s right. Or maybe she just minimizes everything – to a fault. Who knows? But one thing I do know is that human beings can’t exaggerate at least two things, i.e., two things we are told about in the Word of God. Those two things, which are referred to in the passage above, are the sinfulness of man, and the glory and righteousness of God. Our perspective is so flawed because we are prone to judge ourselves by ourselves. The Bible tells us that such a perspective is “without understanding (2 Corinthians 10:12).” In other words, we don’t know what we’re talking about, so the Bible seeks to set things right.
First, the issue of man’s sin. In Psalm 57 above, David compares men to lions, fiery beasts, with teeth like spears and arrows and tongues like sharp swords. It’s a picture of destruction unleashed from people’s mouths. And Jesus told us that “from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).” In Romans 3 these words are used to describe the same thing: “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” So, who is being described here, with this extreme language? It’s you and I, every one of us. So we don’t miss this, the following clarifies it for us, as it comes right before the words above: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” As Jesus said to a rich young ruler who had a very wrongheaded perspective on what it meant to be “good:” “No one is good but God alone (Mark 10:18).” Yet, the natural man sees himself as basically good, or at least as good as the next guy. It’s such a flawed perspective and such a twisted view. And it’s one that can only be made right as one’s eyes are opened to their own heart’s darkness by the light of the glory of God.
The apostle Paul is such prime example of this. He saw himself as one of the most righteous people on the face of the earth until Jesus struck him blind on the road to Damascus. It was there, in the face of true Righteousness and Goodness incarnate that he realized that his own righteousness was as filthy rags. In fact, this man, who once saw himself as righteous, now called himself “the worst of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).” He now realized that Christ Jesus came to this earth to save sinners, and he was the ringleader of them all.
So, has this reality ever dawned on you – or are you better than that? If you think you are, it’s just evidence that you’ve never met Christ, for when you come to realize that this One is the very God Who is “exalted above the heavens” and whose “glory is over all the earth,” you will also realize that we are anything but. Have you seen your own sin? Have you realized your need, more than anything, to be healed from it? If not, may God give you the grace to see it someday, for until you see it, you will never go to the only Physician who can make you well.