Read: 1 Samuel 21 – 22
The occasion for the writing of Psalm 52 was one the most horrifying stories in Scripture, recorded in 1 Samuel 22 — the murder of the priests at Nob by Doeg at the command of Saul. David blamed himself for Ahimelech’s death and took responsibility for Abimelech, the sole survivor of the massacre.
Think About It: Is the willingness to accept responsibility for unintended consequences of actions an important aspect of good leadership? Am I willing to take responsibility for inadvertent damage I may have caused?
Prayer: For the wisdom to think through all the consequences of my actions and to accept responsibility for what I do.
Read: Psalm 52: 1; 1 Samuel 22:7
Doeg was a mighty man– he had great power to do evil, and used that power to massacre unarmed priests, women, and children.
Think About It: Other powerful warriors who surrounded Saul refused to follow his command to murder the priests of Nob. What motive for Doeg’s actions is suggested in 1 Samuel 22:7? Have I ever used power in a reckless way, in order to enhance myself but heedless of its effect on others?
Prayer: That I might ever use such power as I have wisely and for the good of others and glory of God.
Read: Psalm 52:1; 2 Peter 3:3 – 9
God has the power to crush evildoers instantly, but He mercifully restrains His power.
Think About It: How do evildoers and scoffers view God’s merciful restraint of His power? Is it better that I should be like Ahimelech, a righteous victim, or like Doeg, a deceitful manipulator, alive but doomed to face God on judgment day?
Prayer: That I might have the patience and faith of the holy martyrs in the face of persecution, never doubting God’s justice.
Read: Psalm 52:2-4; Ephesians 4:15
David accused Doeg of being a “worker of deceit,” and of having “a deceitful tongue.” Strictly speaking, Doeg had done no more than tell the truth. But Ephesians 4:15 says we are to “speak the truth in love,” and Doeg was not motivated by love, but by desire for Saul’s favor, and Saul’s murderous hatred.
Think About It: There is a time to speak, and a time to remain silent. Have I ever spoken the truth because I knew it would cause malicious damage? Truth motivated by a desire to hurt is the same as a lie.
Prayer: For grace to speak the truth only in love.
Read: Psalm 52:5-7; Mark 10:23 – 24; Luke 12:20
David said Doeg faced judgment because he trusted in his wealth. Standing up to Saul involved a risk Doeg was not willing to take.
Think About It: Am I willing to risk loss of the security of wealth and the power of influence for the sake of standing up for what is right?
Prayer: For the courage to take a stand even if it proves costly.
Read: Psalm 52:8,9; Psalm 92:12 – 13
In contrast to Doeg, David pictured himself as a green olive tree in the house of the Lord, being fruitful forever. Doeg took the short term view, ignoring moral imperatives for immediate gain. David took the long term view.
Think About It: Do I think of my actions in terms of their eternal consequences?
Prayer: That I might continue to be fruitful in God’s service from season to season.
Read: Psalm 52:9; Psalm 25:3
David said that he would wait on God’s name. That means patiently waiting for God’s authority and power to act. David demonstrated his commitment to this principle when on two occasions he refused to lift his hand against Saul, leaving his enemy in God’s hands.
Think About It: Does God’s timing ever seem off to me? Why is it so hard for me to wait for a few months– or maybe on into eternity– to see God’s justice done?
Prayer: For patience as I wait on God’s name.