Tuesday, May 31, 2022

2022.05.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 52

Read Psalm 52

Questions from the Scripture text: Into whose hands was this Psalm put (superscript)? Who wrote it? When (cf. 1 Samuel chapters 21–22)? What question begins this Psalm (Psalm 52:1a)? What is more enduring (verse 1b)? What does the evil/”mighty” man’s tongue do (Psalm 52:2a, Psalm 52:4b)? In what manner (Psalm 52:2b)? Why (Psalm 52:3a, Psalm 52:4a)? With what behavior (Psalm 52:3b)? What will the forever-God of Psalm 52:1 do (Psalm 52:5)? Who will have which right response toward God (Psalm 52:6a)? And toward the wicked/deceitful (verse 6b)? In what do the deceitful foolishly put their trust (Psalm 52:7)? But what are the truth-tellers like (Psalm 52:8a)? Where? How (verse 8b)? What will they do for how long (Psalm 52:9a)? For what (verse 9b)? Among whom (verse 9c)? What will the righteous do now (verse 9d)? Why?

What hope will stand the test of time (and eternity!)? Psalm 52 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nine verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that, while those who trust in themselves and their means are the so-called “mighty” who lie and deceive (Psalm 52:1-5), those who trust in God’s mercy will use their mouths for praise. The liar will be quickly destroyed, but the praise-er and his praise will endure forever like his God.

Doeg the Edomite was so eager to get in good with Saul that he betrayed and then exterminated the priestly household in order to do so (cf. 1 Samuel chapters 21–22). But what did he gain thereby? Will Saul be king forever? Will Doeg live forever? Of course not. It is God and His goodness that is forever (Psalm 52:1b). And since God is good forever, the evil will be destroyed forever (Psalm 52:5a). In a moment, all of their schemes will be dashed.

When the righteous sees the wicked seeming to prosper, he should fear (Psalm 52:6a). But not fear the wicked—the righteous ought to have a holy ridicule for such folly (v6b) that makes anything other than God one’s strength (Psalm 52:7a). If God alone is forever-strong, then it is literally, utterly ridiculous to make anything else our strength! Yet, the world is full of those who hope in money (verse 7b) and therefore in whatever they think will obtain it (verse 7c). Not so the righteous. When the wicked seem to prosper, the righteous should see the folly of it, fear the Lord Who will repay it, and turn away from evil.

But what about the one who makes God his strength? When he goes to the house of God (Psalm 52:8a), he sees his end (cf. Psalm 73:17–19, Psalm 73:23–24), and realizes that the worship of God is just the beginning of something eternal! An olive tree seemed almost eternal to a man, since they live thousands (!) of years. But there is something far more enduring in Psalm 52:8: the mercy (covenanted love!) of God, which is forever and ever.

God’s love is determined to give us the highest purpose and privilege: to praise Him (Psalm 52:9a). And we will not be alone in this. All of His saints (verse 9c), His holy ones whom He has separated unto Himself from the world, they will be there forever. They will be strong forever. They will praise Him forever. 

If we know that this is the case, why would we hope in anything else? God forbid that we would! Let us instead wait upon His Name (verse 9d)!

What sorts of things are you tempted to trust in? What happens when they fluctuate or even fail? Where do you go (gather!) to experience something infinitely more powerful and enduring? What relation does this assembly have to eternity? What does a commitment to the Lord keep you from doing?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You have extended to us Your steadfast, covenanted, eternal love! We trust in You, and when we gather in Your house, we find a strength that is the beginning of something eternal. Now, in the presence of Your saints, make us to delight in You! Remind us of the end to which the wicked quickly come, and make us to fear You instead. Keep us from all lesser hopes and foolish schemes by setting before us now: Yourself, Your goodness, Your love, and Your praise—all in Jesus Christ, through Whom we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP52 “Mighty Man, Why Boast in Evil?” or TPH52 “Mighty Man, Why Boast of Evil?”

No comments:

Post a Comment