Thursday, October 1, 2015
Psalms 52:7 – 8 “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others! But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.”
There’s quite a contrast between the lives of the two men described in today’s Psalm. David was a shepherd boy whom God chose to be the King of Israel. By the power and authority of God he slew Goliath, yet demanded no recognition or reward. His humble spirit was the soil in which the fruit of greatness grew. He flourished because his hope and trust were in the unfailing love of God.
Doeg was also a shepherd, a servant of King Saul. He trusted in his own ability to rise to a position of importance and power. He lied to the King about David in order to improve his own position with the King. As a result Saul ordered Doeg to kill 85 innocent priests he thought were conspiring with David to overthrow his kingdom. Doeg, motivated by pride and a desire to better himself, obeyed. When David got the news of what had happened, he wrote this Psalm. (You can read the whole story in 1 Samuel 21-22).
David uses some pretty harsh words to describe Doeg in this Psalm. David questions Doeg’s wisdom of boasting about evil, and says that he is a disgrace in the eyes of God. He calls him a liar and a man who would rather do evil than good. Then David tells Doeg what the consequences will be of his pride and deceit – God will bring him to everlasting ruin. Everything that he had worked so hard to gain for himself will be taken from him, including the prestige he wanted when the righteous end up laughing at him. The end result of man’s pursuits of wealth, power, and prestige at the expense of others is the destruction of all that was gained and life itself. This lowly shepherd who pursued greatness ended up with nothing because he was a man motivated by a sinful heart.
But the other shepherd, David, a man after God’s heart, was granted a throne, a kingdom, and a heritage because he trusted in God alone. He flourished like an olive tree growing in the house of God. All his hope was in God because he knew that God was good. He was not perfect – far from it – yet God honored his humble heart that submitted to God’s purpose in all things. He knew that the only things worth living for in life were the things that God granted.
If God granted power, David would praise him.
If God granted prosperity, then David would praise him.
If God granted prestige, then David would praise Him.
If God had not granted any of those things David would still have praised Him, because David was surrendered to whatever God wanted to do with his life.
That’s why David was called a man after God’s own heart. He was not pursuing man’s desires, but God’s.
Doeg sought to praise himself and have others praise him as well.
David sought to praise God and have his life be used to motivate others to praise God.
Doeg sought personal gratification in everything he did.
David sought God’s honor in everything he did.
Doeg was not content with his position and sought to change it at the expense of others.
David was content with whatever God chose for him and when God appointed David to replace Saul as King he sought to avoid doing anything that would dishonor Saul and his family.
Two men, from identical backgrounds, experiencing totally opposite results. The reason is obvious – one willingly surrendered to God and one pridefully pursued the flesh. The one who surrendered to God flourished and his fame is remembered forever. The one who pursued the flesh failed and is forgotten.
Which one are you?