Monday, May 9, 2022

Boasting of Evil (Psalm 52)

"Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually" (Psalm 52:1).

David composed Psalm 52 after Doeg killed the priests of the Lord when Ahimelech helped David escape from the clutches of Saul’s army (1 Samuel 21–22). David had fled to Nob where Ahimelech the priest served the Lord. He was hungry so Ahimelech gave him the only bread available—consecrated bread. David also needed a weapon, and Ahimelech supplied him with Goliath’s sword. This exchange between Ahimelech and David did not go unnoticed, however, for one of Saul’s henchmen, Doeg, had spied on David. He immediately returned to Saul and reported everything.

Saul confronted Ahimelech, accusing him of conspiring against the king. Ahimelech denied any part in a conspiracy, saying David was loyal to the king. Saul, however, showed no mercy and ordered the killing of the entire priesthood. At this point Doeg returned to the scene because Saul’s officials would not kill God’s priests. In a boastful manner, Doeg took the “honor” upon himself and killed 85 priests along with the people of Nob.

Like so many wicked men throughout history, Doeg refused to acknowledge God and instead carried out his own wicked schemes. He sought honor and glory, not by righteousness and justice, but by treachery and malice. David mourned the death of the priests and the people of Nob, but he put his hope in God, knowing that men such as Doeg would be paid back in full by God Himself. “God will likewise destroy you forever; He shall pluck you out of your dwelling place, and uproot you from the land of the living.” This is the promise to all who resort to wickedness. Calvin wrote, “Any triumph which may be obtained by violence, treachery, or other unjustifiable means, is short-lived.” The boasting of evil men will become like bitter poison when they face the God of righteousness on the day of judgment. God’s justice will prevail. This hope sustained David in the midst of the atrocious unbridled murder of hundreds of people. We, too, possess this hope when we witness evil men boasting in their wicked schemes. Violence and treachery need not bring us to despair. We should hope in the Judge of heaven who will repay every man according to his deeds.

Think of some historical events in which evil men carried out unthinkable atrocities and boasted about them. What was the response of the world to these men? What should be the response of the church? Thank God that He is a righteous Judge who does not let the wicked go unpunished.