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Read Psalm 52

For the director of music. A maskil of David. When Doeg the Edomite had gone to Saul and told him: “David has gone to the house of Ahimelek.”

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?
You who practice deceit,
    your tongue plots destruction;
    it is like a sharpened razor.
You love evil rather than good,
    falsehood rather than speaking the truth.
You love every harmful word,
    you deceitful tongue!

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.
The righteous will see and fear;
    they will laugh at you, saying,
“Here now is the man
    who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
    and grew strong by destroying others!”

But I am like an olive tree
    flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
    for ever and ever.
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.

Go Deeper

For us to best understand this psalm, we first need to dig a little deeper into its background. The terrible events that prompted this chapter are recorded in 1 Samuel 21 and 22. Doeg informed Saul about David’s presence at the tabernacle of God and the help he received from the priest there. Saul had Doeg kill the priests (85 of them to be exact) and others at the tabernacle (1 Samuel 22:18-19). Therefore, this psalm comes as David’s contemplation of the root of Doeg’s evil and the horrors it birthed. Recognizing the context of this psalm allows us to understand better the biblical process of contemplation that concludes in trusting, thanking, and waiting on the Lord. 

David humorously begins the psalm by calling out Doeg for his cowardice. Now, he calls him a “mighty hero,” but really, how heroic is killing 85 priests who have vowed not to pick up a sword? Rather than trust the Lord, Doeg “would not make God his refuge but trusted in the abundance of his riches” (v. 7). We, like David, should trust in the steadfast love of God (v. 8). May we be the kind of people who depend upon the Lord, regardless of our circumstances. 

He then testifies, “I will thank you forever because you have done it” (v. 9). David’s trust in God’s future faithfulness was rooted in gratitude for God’s past faithfulness. May we praise God in the present for what is to come. This is a call for us to be people who, in gratitude, trust in the goodness of God.

David concludes this psalm by saying, “I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly” (Psalm 52:9). A trusting and thankful heart will be marked by patience. Although his circumstances had not changed and his prayers remained unanswered, David patiently waited for the Lord. However, waiting is not for the sluggard. Waiting involves constant movement forward. May we be people who continue to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). 

Questions

  1. Take a look at verse seven. Doeg’s refuge was money. What people, places, or things have often been your refuge instead of God?
  2. When David was looking for a simile for his relationship with the Lord he chose the olive tree. Do you think there is any significance in this choice?
  3. Let’s reflect. What are some situations where you have trusted, thanked, and waited on God recently?

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4 thoughts on “Psalm 52”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    It’s hard to imagine the bitter experience David walked through with Doeg. While fleeing Saul, David asks for help from Ahimelech. As a result he, along with many others, is massacred for helping David. Doeg brags about his evil as if worthy of hero status. David, however, is confident that God judges the proud. He trusts in his faithful love and continues to hope in the Name above all names, knowing every knee must bow to God’s authority. David speaks of “flourishing like an olive tree in the house of God.” Olive trees live for hundreds of years and can withstand harsh conditions. As an olive tree produces good fruit, the righteous person will flourish and give God praise & glory in and through the hard times. Today, I want to remember that God’s goodness always outlasts evil. Let nothing cause us to lose our confidence in God.

    1. Wonderful info about the olive tree! I remember hearing that the oil harvested from it was used in many different ways and was highly valued.

  2. I am praising God today for the outcome, whatever it may be, of testing next week. He is sovereign and will be with me.

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