Verse 4. He deviseth mischief upon his bed. His place of rest becomes the place for plotting. His bed is a hot bed for poisonous weeds. God fearing men meditate upon God and his service; but when men turn all their thoughts and inventive faculties towards evil, their godlessness is proved to a demonstration. He hath the devil for his bed fellow who lies abed and schemes how to sin. God is far from him. He setteth himself in a way that is not good. When he gets up he resolutely and persistently pursues the mischief which he planned. The worst of ways he prefers for his walking, for he has taught his heart to love filthiness, having accustomed himself to revel in it in imagination. He abhorreth not evil. So far from having a contempt and abhorrence for evil, he even rejoices in it, and patronises it. He never hates a wrong thing because it is wrong, but he meditates on it, defends it, and practises it. What a portrait of a graceless man these few verses afford us! His jauntiness of conscience, his licentiousness of speech, his intentness upon wrong doing, his deliberate and continued preference of iniquity, and withal his atheistic heart, are all photographed to the life. Lord, save us from being such.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3-4: -- See Psalms on "Psalms 36:4" for further information.
Verse 4. He deviseth mischief upon his bed. As the man that fears God communes with his heart upon his bed, that he may not sin, no, not in his heart; so the man that fears not God, devises how he may plot and perform sin willingly. David Dickson.
Verse 4. Upon his bed. Most diligently does Ayguan follow up the scriptural expressions concerning a bed, and tell us that there are six different beds of wickedness -- that of luxury, that of avarice, of ambition, of greediness, of torpor, and of cruelty, and he illustrates them all by examples from Scripture. J. M. Neale.
Verse 4. He setteth himself in a way that is not good. To wait to sin is to sin deliberately, yea, to wait to sin resolvedly. That sin is exceedingly sinfully committed which we set and prepare ourselves to commit. David, describing a wicked man, saith, He setteth himself in a way that is not good; that is, in an evil way: he doth not only fall into sin (that may be the case of a good man), but he takes or chooseth an evil way, and then sets or settles himself in it, resolving not to leave it, no, nor to be beaten out of it. Sin may be said to wait for a godly man, that is, Satan waits and watches his season to tempt him unto sin; but a godly man doth not wait nor watch to sin. It is bad enough to be overtaken with sin, or with a fault (as the apostle speaks, Galatians 6:1 ); but to be taken with sin, and so to wait for a season to take our fill of it, is as bad as bad can be. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 4. He setteth himself in a way that is not good. Proud sinners have strongest conceit that they go right, at least in the way of their choice. Satan blindeth them so, that they mistake both the end and the way: in their count they are running to heaven, when they are posting to hell: he serveth them kindly with fresh post horses. Sometimes he mounts them on drunkenness, and when they have run a stage on that beastliness, he can mount them on lechery. Again, he can refresh them with avarice; and if they be weary of that slow jade, he setteth them on lofty ambition, and to make them more spirited he can horse them on restless contention. Every one seeth not Satan's enquiry: there is no complexion or disposition, but he hath a fit horse for it, and that of itself. Every man's predominant is a beast of Satan's saddling and providing to carry men to hell. The way is one, the post master is one, he is to be found at every stage, mounting his gallants, their horses are all of one kind though not of one colour. Happy is the man whom God dismounts in that evil way, and more happy is he who taketh with that stay, and turneth his course to heaven. William Struther.
Verse 4. He abhorreth not. i.e., is far enough from rejecting any instrument, however sinful, for attaining his purposes. J. J. Stewart Perowne.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 4. Diligence in doing evil, a mark of deep depravity. W.S. Plumer.
Verse 4. The abuse of retirement to wicked purposes, a sure characteristic of an habitual sinner. N. Marshall.
Verse 4. The sinner on his bed, in his conduct, in his heart; and to this, in his death, and in his doom.
Verse 4. (second clause). Ways which are not good.
Verse 4. (last clause). Neutrality condemned.