Psalm 52

Futility of Boastful Wickedness.

For the choir director. A [a]Maskil of David, [b]when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul and said to him, “David has come to the house of Ahimelech.”

52 Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?
The lovingkindness of God endures all day long.
Your tongue devises destruction,
Like a sharp razor, O worker of deceit.
You love evil more than good,
Falsehood more than speaking what is right. [c]Selah.
You love all words that devour,
O deceitful tongue.

[d]But God will break you down forever;
He will snatch you up and tear you away from your tent,
And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah.
The righteous will see and fear,
And will laugh at him, saying,
“Behold, the man who would not make God his refuge,
But trusted in the abundance of his riches
And was strong in [e]his evil desire.”

But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.
I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it,
And I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.

It’s easy to look at someone “boasting in evil” and think that’s pretty foolish. Even more so, with the description in this psalm, of one who loves destruction, is a worker of deceit, and who loves manipulating others with their tongue. We see that their end will ultimately be destruction at the hands of God, if they don’t bring their “house of cards” falling down upon themselves sooner.

But what do we boast in? And what do we put our trust in? What is our refuge when times get hard? Do we boast in our deeds, in our work or our faith? Do we say, “look how well I’m doing…” or “at least I’m not like so-and-so…”? Is it the fabulous new car we just bought, or a house that gives us security? Is it our retirement fund that gives us peace of mind? Who or what is our fortress? Is it our career, or our position in society? Perhaps we rely on our family, or some friends that we know we can count on?

Even if we aren’t boasting in our evil deeds, do we still fall short? Have we refused to “make God our refuge”? Or can we honestly say, like the psalmist, that we are like trees planted (and rooted) in the house of God? Do we trust in his goodness and lovingkindness forever and ever?

If we’re honest, we all let our gaze slip, our eyes lose focus, and it’s only natural to put our trust in something we can touch with our hands or see with our eyes. But everything in the physical world is fallible, so let this be a wake up call to us all. Rise up in God’s strength, and boast in nothing, except perhaps your weakness that allows the power of God to be displayed in and through you. As God told Paul when he was struggling, “My grace is enough for you, for (My) power is made perfect in weakness.”

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