First Off…read Psalm 52!
My first thoughts and impressions on this psalm is that David is really angry. While you read this psalm you just get this impression of someone that is harboring so much hatred and disgust towards someone…but then we come to know the backstory – and it makes sense.
We read in 1 Sam 21-22 that Doeg the Edomite was a man NOT after the heart of God. Doeg was Saul’s chief shepherd and someone who, by all accounts, appears to be bent on harm, pain, and murder…and taking pleasure in it (as seen by all the boasting he does). And when we read 1 Sam 21 we see that David had taken off to Nob to visit Ahimelek the priest and it is while there that he comes across Doeg…and in turn Doeg goes to Saul and notifies him of David’s whereabouts – which eventually leads to the death and destruction of many people. So, say what you will about the tone and bitterness and anger in this text…but less we forget that Doeg eventually massacres numerous priests and others who helped David when he came to Ahimelech. This psalm is a response from a passionate someone who is angry with a man who is full of hate and murder – who not only killed the priests but the men, women, children, infants, and cattle.
David’s opening question get right to the point – and it’s actually not really a question at all…it’s more rhetorical than anything else. It’s a rhetorical question that is said in disgust. Doeg was boasting of his murderous work. And while that is bad enough we need to remember that this man worked for Saul – a man of God! A man who “plots destruction” and practices “evil” – loving it more than good…is NOT a good person – and is not someone whose heart beats in sync with God.
You call yourself a mighty hero? You…who practice deceit and destruction – whose words cut like a razor!? You who love evil, lies, harm, and inflicting pain on others!? A hero? You love yourself! You boast in YOU. Your so-called “strength” came by your own thoughts and building yourself up and came at the cost of others!
God requires men and women who work for goodness. Men and women who practice love and sacrifice – who think of others – who forgive. People who seek HIS heart and nobody else. People who do not lie – and do not take joy in causing pain to others. And David’s words hit the mark here: NO man can do these things and be this way and get away with it (and I would add that no WOMAN can either). God WILL deal with you.
While David is spot on in his calling out of Doeg and showing him that evil will not win – I wonder what David’s intentions were here. Did he write this to simply vent? Did he pen words to ease his troubled mind? Does he write with intention of sending Doeg a letter? Maybe David writes because he realizes that while it was Doeg who did the harm…none of the deaths of women, children, and animals would have happened had David NOT went to Ahimelek. So maybe it’s reflective? We simply don’t know. We don’t know what David was wanting to do here with these words – but it’s obvious that his heart was not only broken by what had transpired…but his anger was flared as well…and writing his thoughts and emotions down were serving a purpose.
Someone after the heart of Satan, the father of lies, is impossible to deal with. When you boast in yourself, when you take joy in the harm of others…there is nothing you nor I can do – and that itself causes me some grief. I like to think that there isn’t a soul out there that love cannot break through to. I cling to the hope and knowledge that since every person was created by God and in his image that there is some part of them that is still available to be reasoned with, to give hope to, to find love in. Even the terrorist who is planning to bomb and kill innocent people…even those that take credit for mass suicide bombs…I cling to the hope that not all are lost with them.
Maybe that’s a stretch for you – maybe that was a stretch for David too. I don’t know. What I do know is that in this psalm David has some pretty honest moments…as well as harsh words. I’m reminded, as I read verses 5-6, that we should NOT pass judgment or tell people what God WILL do to them. That’s not our job – even when we want to.
David is spot-on on his reflection of what God DOES require and what DOES happen to those who work and scheme and seek the Father of Lies…but that judgment for that type of living is not up to you and I. We need to allow David to feel what he’s feeling here (that’s what an honest relationship with God looks like) but we also need to be aware and understand that we need to allow these words to be words – and words that are not only given unto God but spoken unto him as well.
David’s words, while honest and true, are very harsh and angry and ultimately those feelings need to be placed upon God. Not directed AT God – but given UNTO him. That’s really what a relationship with our Father looks like. That in our anger…he listens. In our hatred…he listens. Whether our words are reflective on things we’ve done or due to what someone else has done…it is much better to release that to him than let those words and feelings loose upon one another.