How Should We React In The Middle of Tragedy & Unjust Behavior? Psalm 52.

#tragedy #fear #betrayal #provision #deliverer #unjust (Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures in this study are from the King James Version of the Bible – Public Domain.)

Psalm Chapter 52 (KJV)

Context and style of literature

Psalm  52 portrays to be a psalm of confidence in YHWH to do has His word declares that He will do.  The psalmist is faced with opposition, from Saul, who is attempting to murder him, and experienced tragedy when Doeg the Edomite betrays David to Saul. (See 1 Samuel 21:7; 22:6– 23, and confusion everywhere he went as he was fleeing from Saul. Now, let’s understand the context f this prayer.

The Problem, the Tragedy, the Unjust Behavior.

David, the young lad who slew the giant of the Philistines, was loved by the people but hated by the jealous king who knew that David would rule after he dies. Saul’s behavior toward David was unjust and irrational. David was not plotting to unseat him as king. Saul’s fear of losing his position of leadership lead to the once favored son of Israel running for his life from an unhinged, irrational ruler. So, hungry, tired, and fearful, David stops at the temple in Nob. What is he going to do to preserve his life and the lives of his followers?

David used lies, remember that he was facing the tragedy of his own demise, to convince the priest to give him the holy food that should only be eaten by the priests. He also assures the priest to provide him with Goliath’s sword. But someone was watching. A storyteller was going to spin a yarn that would result in a tragedy. So, what does Doeg do? 1 Sam. 21:7 notifies the reader that this Edomite sees David at the temple and witnesses the priest feeding him.  In 1 Sam. 22:9– 23 Doeg betrays David and tells Saul that he saw David in NOb. Saul, in a fearful fit that his rule will end, slaughters the 85 priests who fed David. That is the historical backdrop of this psalm. Can you imagine knowing that your behavior resulted in the death of 85 pastors? How does David respond to this terrible tragedy?

David Trusts God But Describes The Soul of His Enemy

1 Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually. The tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou lovest evil more than good, and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.

David calls Doeg a mischievous [scarcasm] mighty man who used his tongue like a razor to deceive him to Saul (Verses 1-2).  Doeg is described as a morally corrupt man who loves ‘evil,’ telling lies, and devours others with his mouth. Not only is his behavior irreprehensible, but he also uses his deceitful tongue’ to bring about the destruction of others.  Today, can you see any scenarios, persons, or leaders who fit this description? Not only did this person deceive others his speech emotionally, but he also used his speech to ‘deviseth mischiefs’  he also used it to carve away at people’s reputation-like a sharp razor.Have you ever accidentally cut yourself with a razor? Just think of that when you read this verse.

Wow, doom and gloom, right? Not really! That is unchecked human nature.  Even so, David had to deal with the death of the priests. He was partially responsible for their deaths. But the tongue of Doeg dealt the final blow. What does David do? Does he take to the streets and trash talk Saul and Doeg? Honestly, if any leader deserved to be ravaged, it was Saul. After all, he was unhinged.

The Solution:

So, David determines to trust God.

God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah. The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: 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. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.

David looks to God for Him to handle Doeg – the wicked tattler who uses his mouth to destroy instead of a blessing, and Saul who uses his position of authority to hunt down an innocent man and repeatedly tells others that David is plotting against him. [David believes that God will destroy this evil person.] and root thee out of the land of the living [His home will be destroyed, and he will lose his life. NOT at David’s hand-but at God’s hand (verse 5). David bore the brunt of Saul’s deranged morally reprehensible behavior will be like  ‘the righteous also shall see, and fear [NOT MAN but God, and not in trepidation either] and shall laugh at him. Why? The results of tragedy and fear are not something that the righteous have to worry about being punished for like the wicked person. They will respond to these emotional challenges with a respectful and wholesome fear of the Lord knowing all along that He is their protector. (See Prov. 1:7), as they witness God dealing with this influential, evil person. David acknowledges that the only way to deal with these tragedies is to praise God and trust him to protect him through it all.

Psalms 529 KJV

Psalm 52 reminds Christians that God is the only source of absolute protection and prosperity. It may look as if the wicked are winning, they may use their tongues to slander you or cut you emotionally, but the reality is that God blesses the righteous and evil will not prevail forever. We have read the end of the story of mankind and God’s people win. SO praise him for all that He has done and is doing in your life. Even if you have to praise Him on the sidelines of the football field of life, praise Him anyhow. Wait on Him to move powerfully, end the tragedy, and fill you with peace instead of fear.

Prayer. Lord you alone are worthy of all of our praise. You alone sees and hears what we are thinking and how we are behaving. Teach us how to trust in your promise of provision and protection. Teach us how to share that hope of internal peace with others so that they too can live in peace and be ‘still.’ Selah


Longman, Tremper, III. 2014. Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. Accessed October 8, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central.

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