Weds 24 March - Psalm 52
1 Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero?
Why do you boast all day long,
you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?
2 You who practise deceit,
your tongue plots destruction;
it is like a sharpened razor.
3 You love evil rather than good,
falsehood rather than speaking the truth.
4 You love every harmful word,
you deceitful tongue!
5 Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin:
he will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent;
he will uproot you from the land of the living.
6 The righteous will see and fear;
they will laugh at you, saying,
7 ‘Here now is the man
who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
and grew strong by destroying others!’
8 But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
9 For what you have done I will always praise you
in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
for your name is good.
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Meditation on Psalm 52
To modify a well-known phrase, we could say of this Psalm, ‘Who needs enemies when there are people like you around?’ (the ‘you’ being Doeg)
The context for this Psalm is back in 1 Samuel 21-22.
David is on the run from king Saul and he arrives in the town of Nob, which is just north of Jerusalem. He is with Ahimelek, the priest. David asks for bread and he also gets the sword of Goliath.
But, there’s a ‘spy in the camp’. Doeg, Saul’s chief shepherd and one of Saul’s officials, is also there and he sees David and takes note of what he is asking for.
Later, when David has moved on, Doeg is back at base with Saul who is getting increasingly angry because David always seems to avoid him.
But Doeg tells Saul that he saw David with the priest Ahimelek – “I saw him and Ahimelek inquired of the LORD for him; he also gave him provisions and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”
The outcome of all this is that Saul demands the death of Ahimelek and all his family and all the priests. The guards refused to commit such atrocities so Doeg carried out the demand of Saul and more.
Read 1 Samuel 22:18-19.
One of Ahimelek’s sons survived and went and told David who was full of remorse because, he said, “I am responsible for the death of your whole family.”
This context can be brought forward to today when, looking around the world, there are those who want to wipe out the people of God. There are those oppressors who take advantage of the weak.
There are these ‘mighty men’ (as Doeg is described) who do evil and ‘boast of evil’ (v.1)
Spurgeon comments, “a mighty man indeed to kill men who never touched a sword! He ought to have been ashamed of his cowardice.”
David makes clear how these attitudes and behaviour are seen and heard.
- v.2 ‘you practise deceit’
- v.2 ‘your tongue plots destruction’
- v.3 ‘you love evil rather than good’
- v.3 ‘you love lies rather than the truth’
And David summarises this in v.1 ’you are a disgrace in the eyes of God.’
But such evildoers will not win, even if, for a moment that seems to be the outcome.
No – v.5 ‘surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin. He will pluck you from your tent. He will uproot you from the land of the living.’
Michael Wilcock says: ‘we find ourselves back in the days of the Psalmist, when wealth and words, power and communication are perverted to terrible ends and no-one seems able to do anything to stop it. All such regimes and those who lead them, are addressed as the ‘mighty man.’
While we celebrate the faithfulness, mercy, grace and love of God to us in Christ, we must never forget that He is a holy and righteous God and a God of judgment. And the wicked will perish.
What Doeg didn’t do was to ‘make God his stronghold.’ (v.7)
What he tried to do was to ‘trust in his great wealth’ (v.7) and to ‘grow strong by destroying others.’ (v.7)
How we need to pray for those who live under such regimes.
How do we live?
- like an olive tree – Michael Wilcock: ‘evergreen, hardy, remarkably long lived, valuable fruit, practical, versatile, life-sustaining, life-enhancing.’
- trusting in the ‘unfailing love of God’
- ‘praising Him’ for what He has done and is doing and will yet do
- ‘hoping in His name.’
Where could I go but to the Lord?
Thursday 25 March - Psalm 53
Friday 26 March - Psalm 54
Saturday 27 March - Psalm 55
Sunday 28 March - Psalm 56
Monday 29 March - Psalm 57
Tuesday 30 March - Psalm 58