A Journey in the Psalms of Lament | Mark Doss | Capitol Ministries of Iowa

“See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.” Psalm 52:7-8

“I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.” (Charles Dickens). Psalm 52 is a statement of assurance that the steadfast love of God does indeed win and will overcome evil. The title of Psalm 52 identifies an evil person, Doeg the Edomite, who did not tell the whole truth about David to King Saul and eventually killed a town of priests and their families (cf. 1 Samuel 21 and 22). This terrible tragedy drives David to seek refuge in God’s steadfast love. Note the contrasts of evil and good in this Psalm. David talks of the evil person’s boast of evil while he boasts of God’s steadfast love. This evil man loves lying more than speaking what is right. He trusts in his riches and his destructive actions while David trusts in God as his refuge. David says that God will uproot this evil man from the land of the living while he stands like a green olive tree that is secure and full of life.

At the risk of oversimplifying the way to evaluate a person’s status with God, either a person stands with evil and against God, “You love evil more than good” (vs. 3, ESV) or with God and loving good, “I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever” (vs. 8, ESV). It is not a question of morality, have I done more good than bad? It is also not a question of perfection, do only those who are always good merit God’s favor? It is a matter trusting in Jesus Christ and desiring His righteousness rather than continuing the choice of evil. “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3: 7-8, ESV).It may seem that evil wins way too often, but we must always find our refuge in God. His eternal love will win out! “Cruelty and wrong are not the greatest forces in the world. There is nothing eternal in them. Only love is eternal.” (Elisabeth Elliot, A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael).

We need encouragement to endure. This is the choice of David as he reels from evil but chooses the good name of God. “I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly” (vs. 9, ESV). David chooses eternal praise and present hope. That is the perfect antidote to discouragement when evil thrives. We can endure as a green olive tree! The writer of Hebrews joins with David by inviting us to endure: “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,“Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (Hebrews 10: 36-39, ESV).

Prayer: Father, I choose to praise you forever! You are the LORD, glorious in power and great in majesty who has overcome the enemy! I trust you alone, your name is above all other names! Amen.




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