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Weds 23 February - Psalm 53

Psalm 53

The fool says in his heart,
    ‘There is no God.’
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

God looks down from heaven
    on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
    any who seek God.
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;
    they never call on God.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
    where there was nothing to dread.
God scattered the bones of those who attacked you;
    you put them to shame, for God despised them.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When God restores his people,
    let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

- - -

Meditation on Psalm 53

Many years ago, in a primary school in Germany, a class teacher told her group of 9 year-olds that there is no God.
A girl in the class put her hand up and said, “Excuse me, Miss, but my Dad and Mum and I believe there is a God.”

“You will stay behind after school”, said the teacher, “and write out 25 times there is no God.”
The girl stayed behind after school and wrote out 25 times, ‘There is a God.’’

The next morning the teacher saw what the girl had written and she was very angry.

“You will stay behind after school today and write out 50 times ‘there certainly is no God’ the angry teacher told the girl.

The girl stayed behind after school and wrote out 50 times ‘there certainly is a God.’

As she was walking home after school, she was working out how long she would be staying after school if the number of lines increased by 25 each day.

She thought she would mention it to her Dad and Mum.

The next morning, whilst the girl was walking to school, her Dad rang the school. The Principal answered the phone.
The girl’s Dad asked the Principal if he could speak to his daughter’s class teacher.
The Principal relied, “If you had rung 5 minutes ago, you could have spoken with her but she has just had a heart attack in the staff room and she has died.”

Michael Wilcock, in his commentary on this psalm, concludes: ‘Trust God and you have nothing to fear; ignore Him and you have everything to fear.’

You may remember that we have read something similar to this psalm – Psalm 14. There are some changes but the message is the same.

Many of the psalms around Psalm 53 can be traced back to specific circumstances in David’s life. For example, Psalm 52 relates to the time when Saul was chasing David and was told, ‘David has gone to the house of Ahimelek.’

Psalm 54 relates to when Saul was told, ‘Is not David hiding among us?’  And Psalm 56, relates to when David was seized by the Philistines.
These relate to the accounts in 1 Samuel 21-26 and in chapter 25 we have the story of Nabal, of whom his wife said to David, “He is just like his name – his name means Fool and folly goes with him.”

Nabal had no thought of God and is, therefore, a picture of ‘The fool who says “there is no God.” ‘

Come down through the generations and see the ‘Nabals (the fools) who deny that there is a God.

How does David describe them?

Verse 1

  • corrupt
  • vile ways
  • no one who does good

What is God looking for?

Verse 2

  • any who understand?
  • any who seek God?

How does God see them?

Verse 3

  • everyone has turned away
  • all have become corrupt
  • no one does good – not even one

Read how Paul sees humankind – Romans 3:10-18.

We remind ourselves of the story of Noah. Why did God react the way He did? Read Genesis 6:5-7

We remind ourselves of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Why did God react the way He did? Read Genesis 18:20-21.

Today, the picture is the same. And we, too, could be described as ‘fools’ for we didn’t always acknowledge God. It was He, who by His grace and mercy, acknowledged us and brought us into His family through the work of Christ on the Cross and through His resurrection and ascension back to heaven. We have the Holy Spirit living inside us to make our salvation real to us; so that we ‘do seek God.’

How do the evil doers react?
Verse 4

  • ‘they know nothing’
  • ‘they devour the people of God’ They become the persecutors of God’s people who thought that there was nothing to fear.
  • they don’t believe in God, therefore they don’t call on Him.

How did God react?

Verse 5

It seemed as if their victory was as simple as eating a meal. This takes us back to the story of the Assyrian army who, under King Sennacherib, thought they were defeating and destroying the people of God, but suddenly woke up to find 185,000 of their fellow soldiers were dead. (2 Kings 18:14-19:36)

Initially, they weren’t afraid but when they saw the dead bodies of their comrades, were very much afraid.

God had won the victory.

How did David pray?

Verse 6

  • for salvation
  • for God to be praised
  • for the people of God to rejoice

We know that salvation has come from heaven in the person and work of Jesus.

We are the people of God.

We will rejoice in all that God has done.

How do I respond to someone who tells me ‘there is no God’?

- - -  

(Roger Purdom) 


New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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