My wife and I have visited museums all over the country. She has been on a journey to make sure I gain culture in my otherwise “sheltered” life. From the very beginning of our relationship we have viewed art. The Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth was not my first experience but it was the beginning of both our relationship and my cultural education. Having grown up in a home that loved Jesus but, in the later years, not the culture, there was no furtherance of this type of education.
Museum after museum, room after room, we have viewed thousands of pieces of art. All of the famous painters and sculptors from all the major eras have been viewed, examined, discussed, and re-viewed again. I am grateful for these moments, though probably more because I am with her than the art itself. Most of the time, I am done far sooner than she is. I enjoy them, but do not have to read every word of every sign under everything! I love my wife, especially when she can fill me in later. However, I am getting better!
As I read this Psalm, the concept of portraits comes to mind.
1 An oracle within my heart
concerning the transgression of the wicked person:
There is no dread of God before his eyes,
2 for in his own eyes he flatters himself [too much]
to discover and hate his sin.
3 The words of his mouth are malicious and deceptive;
he has stopped acting wisely and doing good.
4 Even on his bed he makes malicious plans.
He sets himself on a path that is not good
and does not reject evil.
As we evaluate this portrait of the wicked we begin with the thoughts behind the eyes. There is no dread of God. What this means is that there is no thought of God, or consideration of God’s sovereignty. The wicked person does not think of God throughout the day or when making decisions. The wicked have no fear, or reverence, for God in life. Everything that is done is about themselves. The wicked think about themselves and how they can be satisfied. The pursuit of happiness is consuming our culture. The obsession with fun has removed our ability to see the destructive nature of this movement until it is too late.
Our next station of evaluation is of the mouth of this portrait. Consideration is given to what is being said by the wicked. If their thoughts and eyes are consumed with pleasing themselves, then their mouths will be filled with malice and deception. How could someone bent on being happy ever speak with malice? When obsessed with pleasing themselves, malice is shown every time it does not happen. Usually, this emotion is directed at the person or group responsible for restricting the completion of this fun. In order to maintain such a pleasurable lifestyle requires a bit of deception to avoid those who would demand a more serious life. The wicked have stopped acting wisely and doing good. What, then, are they doing?
The body language of the subject as they lie on the bed suggests a contemplation on evil plans. This is a culmination of the thoughts and words. Moving from poor reactions to premeditated evil responses is a downward movement with regard to the type of morality honored in scripture.
What a disturbing portrait. As I evaluated this portrait, I found a little of me and lot of “potential” me. Didn’t you? We live in a culture that is flaunting this portrait as normal. We are challenged to walk a different path. We are challenged to be different.
In response, I will allow the master painter to retouch, recolor, redraw whatever He sees is required.