Friday 21 July, 2017

Psalm 53

For the director of music. According to mahalath. A maskil of David. 1 Foolish people say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They do all kinds of horrible and evil things. No one does anything good. 2 God looks down from heaven on all people. He wants to see if there are any who understand. He wants to see if there are any who trust in God. 3 All of them have turned away. They have all become evil. No one does anything good, no one at all. 4 Don’t these people who do evil know anything? They eat up my people as if they were eating bread. They never call out to God for help. 5 Just look at them! They are filled with terror even when there is nothing to be afraid of! People of Israel, God scattered the bones of those who attacked you. You put them to shame, because God hated them. 6 How I pray that the God who saves Israel will come out of Zion! God will bless his people with great success again. Then let the people of Jacob be filled with joy! Let Israel be glad!

This psalm presents the struggle of living in a sinful world, as the writer portrays three points of view – the world view of those who live as if there is no God, God himself wanting relationship with his people, and the believer who longs for God’s reign to be evident.

The actions of the corrupt (lacking integrity; joining together to enhance their influence v 3; exploitative v 4; those who do not acknowledge God v 4) are here in contrast to those “who seek him” (v2). Ps 15 provides a contrasting description of those who “dwell in the house of the Lord.” They are blameless, truthful, not someone who blames others or pulls others down, does not start rumours, characterised by integrity, and trustworthiness. This is compared to “the fool” who ends up a paranoid fearful person (v5), worried about their wealth, influence and future.

The psalmist longs for God to bring restoration by asserting his authority – v5-6.

This poses the question for me – why does God tolerate or allow evil? I think God is always allowing opportunity for us to turn to him, to be back in that wonderful relationship he designed us to enjoy, a relationship of love, faith, and grace. This is why he “looks down from heaven” in v 2, to pursue that relationship. Since Pentecost he is with us always because he has given us his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shows God’s loving heart, because instead of abandoning us to our corrupt ways, he actually opens our eyes and “convicts the world of guilt in regard to sin” (John 16:8-9). Wow, what a loving God who, despite our saying we have no need for him (Ps 53v1), shows us the way back to him.

Praise you our King! Our mighty creator God I am amazed you long for relationship with me! Thank you for your Holy Spirit, dwelling in me, always. Amen

Written by Claire Moore

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