Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Psalm 52

1 Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero?
Why do you boast all day long,
you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?
2 You who practice deceit,
your tongue plots destruction;
it is like a sharpened razor.
3 You love evil rather than good,
falsehood rather than speaking the truth.
4 You love every harmful word,
you deceitful tongue!

5 Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin:
He will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent;
he will uproot you from the land of the living.
6 The righteous will see and fear;
they will laugh at you, saying,
7 “Here now is the man
who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
and grew strong by destroying others!”

8 But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
9 For what you have done I will always praise you
in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
for your name is good.

Questions to consider:

  • Identify and characterize the mighty hero.
  • What is the hero's main weapon? To what extent do you similarly use this weapon?
  • What will be the end of the mighty man? Why?
  • What will be the reaction of the righteous?
  • What qualities do you think David has in mind when he describes himself as a tree?
  • For what can you thank God now?
  • How would you entitle this psalm?
Possibilities for prayer:

There is a bit of a parable within this psalm--David tells of a "hero" who relied upon wealth and power that came from destroying others, both things that are fleeting in this world. The one who chose to trust those things, instead of making God their "stronghold", finds himself mocked in the end. David's image of a tree may help us to envision something strong and beautiful, growing healthier (flourishing, from the psalm) in God's presence. Let's make that our prayer today, that we might grow strong and beautiful as olive trees in the presence of God, seeking God as our stronghold and relying upon him rather than anything fleeting in this world.