Pastor Kent Hobi: Who Will I Believe?

On Palm Sunday, the crowd shouted "Hosanna" as Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem. The word means "Save now!" They certainly wanted a conquering king to overpower Rome at that time. But this was not God's plan. His plan of salvation went beyond human wisdom.

The issue of salvation really comes down to a question of authority. Who will I believe? By what wisdom will I live my life? King David gives his recommendation in Psalm 36. This wisdom psalm reveals secrets of life to help us navigate life as God intended. David was the king over the nation of Israel, with a powerful army at his command and many wise advisors. Furthermore, he had a privileged place in salvation history – the promised Messiah would come through his line. Yet he directs the people of Israel to look to the Lord for wisdom.


In answering ultimate questions, there are only two options: We can trust human wisdom, or we can believe the true and living God. Many ideas are presented as alternatives to God's way, but they all originate with the same source: human wisdom. If you choose to follow this path, there are several things you need to know.

Man Has a Heart Problem. (Psalm 36:1)

The heart is a combination of the mind, will, and emotion. It's the core of who a person is. Every person has a critical problem not caused by circumstances; it is deep within the human identity. The problem is that human nature is ungodly. In the core of our being, we live with no reference to the God of the Bible but instead seek wisdom apart from His Word.

Man Has a Sight Problem. (Psalm 36:1-2)

Psalm 36:2 is difficult to translate from the original Hebrew. Even the sentence structure of the verse shows us that when our eyes don't see things God's way, life becomes convoluted and confusing. Our human eyes lack the ability to see God's truth. The root of the problem is that we have no fear of the Lord.

The created world testifies of the existence of God. This truth is written in our hearts. Dread of a God who will hold us accountable is designed to lead us to God's Word, where our true problem is revealed. The solution in the Bible is to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Then fear and dread of God change to reverence and respect.

Many human ideas taught in fields like psychology try to tell people how to live without any reference to God. Their ultimate hollowness demonstrates the absurdity of trying to live life without the God of the Bible.

For one who chooses to follow the way of man, this is not a problem at all. It's not a source of shame, but in fact is something to glory in. We flatter ourselves that we can choose our own way and trumpet a love for our own autonomy. We cannot control our own heartbeat, breath, or brain waves, yet ironically, we say we are masters of our own fate! This plumbs the depths of insanity.

Man Has a Speech Problem. (Psalm 36:3a)

Verse 3 says the natural man's mouth is filled with wickedness and deceit. Even at our best, we are self-centered in thought, speech, and action. It is a pitiable condition if left without divine help.

Man Has a Character Problem. (Psalm 36:3b)

Mankind ceases to be wise when we cease to do good. Goodness is defined as the willingness to set aside any personal interest to invest in the good of others. Human beings cannot do this apart from receiving help from heaven.

Man Has a Planning Problem. (Psalm 36:4)

Human plans yield awful results of wickedness when God is not involved in the planning.

Verse 4 gives a summary of the human problem: People in our natural state of sin do not despise evil. It's not an issue of learning more data; it's an issue of authority. We want to do what we want to do, and because of sin, there is always an element of evil in those desires. It is truly a pitiable condition on "a path that is not good." Without help from heaven, it doesn't end well.

From the realities highlighted above, is human wisdom a trustworthy agent to be believed?

Thankfully, God doesn't leave mankind in a pitiable condition, and David doesn't end the psalm there. God’s wisdom stands in bold contrast. There is always an abundance of hope! David goes on to name several things we should know if we choose to follow the God of the Bible.

The Lord’s Lovingkindness Is Near Limitless. (Psalm 36:5)

Lovingkindness is a special word that applies only to the God of the Bible. It means to be filled with loyal love. Isn’t that what every human heart longs for? But most will not experience God's lovingkindness because it requires repentance and giving someone else the authority in your life. We can all hear the voice of our Creator, but we refuse to listen. We need heavenly help to respond.

As humans, we may desire to show loyal love, but we are limited by time and circumstances. The God of heaven is never frustrated. Nothing ever subverts his ability to demonstrate his lovingkindness. This is why Revelation 5:12 says that He alone is worthy of worship. He can create spiritual light in a person's heart out of nothing, just as He created physical light (2 Corinthians 4:6). Why rest our affections and hope on anything else?

The Lord’s Righteousness Is Limitless. (Psalm 36:6)

God never fails in fulfilling His responsibilities and doing what He has promised.

The Lord Has an Amazing History of Goodness to His People and All Mankind. (Psalm 36:7-9)

These verses hearken back to what Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden of Eden. God created a very good world full of colors, animals, and food for humans to enjoy. Even with the effects of sin on the world today, we are drowning in the truth that God is good to us.

God Clearly Defines Who Is Right and Who Is Wrong. (Psalm 36:10-12)

It would be a tragedy if we committed ourselves to the God of Bible and He was not consistent in the moment of judgment. But we are assured that God will never change – he is immutable. His judgments are always right and consistent. He will reward those who live by His wisdom, and those who go their own way will also face the consequences of their choice.

Application Points

  • Have you answered the question in your own life: Who will you trust? Do the teachings of human psychologists lead to refuge and rest? At the end of our lives, we will be held accountable what God has said, not what others have said about Him. If you've never discovered God's word for yourself, start in the book of John and find out what He has said!
  • Believer, be aware that the old sin nature will continue to exert its influence. We often smooth over and rationalize what we give our minds and thoughts to. Instead, let's learn to confess sin (1 John 1:9) instead of rationalizing it. We still need daily to choose God as the authority in our lives instead of human wisdom. Who do you choose?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • Matthew 15:19 Sin comes from the heart.
A Hymn to Encourage: “At the Name of Jesus”

At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow,
Every tongue confess him King of glory now;
Praise and adoration to the living Word,
Who from the beginning was the mighty Lord.

Humbled for a season in the form of man,
Left His throne in glory, suffered as the Lamb;
On the cross of Calvary dying in our place,
Jesus paid the ransom through His matchless grace.

We should all adore Him, give to Him our praise,
In our hearts enthrone him, follow all His ways.
Praise the King of heaven, holy is His name;
He will come in power all His own to claim.

Let us love and serve Him, we who are His own,
Tell of His salvation, make His glories known;
By His grace be faithful in this final hour,
Trust Him for the victory through His might and power.