Psalm 52 — Words of the selfish destroy — Reading the Psalms


For the Chief Musician. Maschil of David: When Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, And said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech.

1 Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man?
the mercy of God endureth continually.
2 Thy tongue deviseth very wickedness;
Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
3 Thou lovest evil more than good;
And lying rather than to speak righteousness.  Selah
4 Thou lovest all devouring words,
O thou deceitful tongue.
5 God shall likewise destroy thee for ever,
He shall take thee up, and pluck thee out of thy tent,
And root thee out of the land of the living.  Selah
6 The righteous also shall see it, and fear,
And shall laugh at him, saying,
7 Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength;
But trusted in the abundance of his riches,
And strengthened himself in his wickedness.
8 But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God:
I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
9 I will give thee thanks for ever, because thou hast done it:
And I will wait on thy name, for it is good, in the presence of thy saints.

We have two sources by which we may seek strength in this life. We can look within or we can seek without. Those who trust deep in themselves for success – be it in selfishness or pride – often succeed at the expense of others. Pulling myself up by my boot straps may be more accurately seen to be stepping onto the backs of others. Looking outside of my own self, to hold to the strength of the Lord, brings blessings without hurting others.

The words of the selfish devise destruction and mischief. Deceit cuts deep and never promotes goodness. Deceit devours the goodness around it to leave only destruction. The psalmist warns us away from this path because after we destroy others, we will be destroyed ourselves, by God.

We should rather learn from these awful ways. We should recognize its hurt and inevitable end. In this fear, clinging to God for our strength rather than ourselves and our riches, we will be planted firm and deep. Such a planting yields blessings that are steadfast and sure. Let us be warned by this psalm: our own devisings will lead to the destruction of others and ourselves. Let us trust in God’s support.


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