Psalm 52: Lessons for Turning to God When Evil Surrounds You

Introduction: When Saul hunted David, David lived as a refugee with enemies everywhere (1 Sam. 21-29). This was a dark time in his life. God took David into the wilderness to test him, to mold him, and to prepare him. At one point while hiding in the wilderness, David took refuge in the temple. But an evil man named Doeg then induced Saul to murdering both the high priest Ahimelech and 84 other priests for helping David. From David’s Psalm 52, God reveals seven lessons for turning to Him when evil abounds. These include praying for: (1) deliverance, (2) truth, (3) His love, (4) repentance, (5) courage, (6) trusting Him, and (7) praising Him.

First, David lamented that Doeg boasted about his evil acts. David then took comfort in God’s faithfulness. He is faithful to deliver you from evil when you call out to Him. Second, David lamented how Doeg’s deceit had led to the death of innocent priests. David had in fact obtained help from the priests under false pretenses. When you encounter deceit, God wants you to pray for and speak the truth. Third, David also lamented how Doeg loved evil. When evil abounds, God wants you to pray for and show His love to others. Fourth, David warned that those who embrace evil as Doeg had done face God’s judgment. When evil abounds, God also wants you to pray for and practice repentance in your own life. Fifth, David stated how the righteous will see the eventual fall of evil persons and realize that they had no reason to fear them. When evil abounds, God wants you to pray for the courage from the Holy Spirit to face it. Sixth, in the face of evil, David stated that he would grow like an olive tree (a symbol of peace) because he trusted God. When evil abounds, God also wants you to place your trust in Him to find His peace. Finally, despite the evil he encountered, David praised God. In the face of evil, God also deserves your praise. He is faithful to keep His promises. He is sovereign and in control.

1. Deliverance: When You Encounter Evil, Pray for God’s Deliverance. Ps. 52:1.

  • David lamented Doeg’s evil boasts, and he turned to God for comfort. David mocked Doeg’s boasts that he was a mighty man for employing deceit to kill 85 innocent priests: “For the music director. A Maskil of David, when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul and said to him, ‘David has come to the house of Ahimelech.’ Why do you boast in evil, you mighty man? The faithfulness of God endures all day long.” (Ps. 52:1). “A mighty man indeed to kill men who never touched a sword! He ought to have been ashamed of his cowardice.” (Charles Spurgeon on Ps. 52).1 In the face of such horrific evil, David had the faith to take comfort in God’s faithfulness to deliver His people from evil.

  • Saul’s evil representative spied on David in the temple and later reported him to Saul. While David sought refuge in God’s house, Doeg, the chief of Saul’s shepherds, spied on him (1 Sam. 21:7). Saul had previously fought and defeated the people of Edom (1 Sam 14:47). Doeg betrayed his own people to serve Saul for money as his chief shepherd. But he also had no love for the Jews. David later lamented his remorse to Ahimelech’s son Abiather that he knew that he brought a death sentence to Ahimelech and his household when he saw Doeg. “Then David said to Abiathar, ‘I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have brought about the death of every person in your father’s household.’” (1 Sam. 22:22). Doeg was David’s accuser and the accuser of the brethren. Satan is the “accuser of our brethren.” (Rev. 12:10). Thus, Doeg acted as Satan’s representative in attacking David and the priests.

  • People who boast in their evil will not prevail against God. In this Psalm, David lamented how people like Doeg boasted in their evil acts: “Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?” (Ps. 52:1). “They pour out words, they speak arrogantly; all who do injustice boast.” (Ps. 94:4). “For the wicked boasts of his soul’s desire, and the greedy person curses and shows disrespect to the LORD.” (Ps. 10:3). Although such persons may feel invincible in their power, they will fade like the grass when God exposes their deeds: “When the wicked sprouted up like grass and all who did injustice flourished, it was only that they might be destroyed forevermore.” (Ps. 92:7). “For they will wither quickly like the grass, and decay like the green plants.” (Ps. 37:2). “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they had done? They were not ashamed at all, and they did not know how to be ashamed; therefore they will fall among those who fall; at the time of their punishment they will collapse,” says the LORD.” (Jer. 8:12).

  • Pray for God’s deliverance from evil. David trusted God in the face of attacks from evil people like Doeg (Ps. 52:8). While under attack in the wilderness, David frequently cried out to God for deliverance: “1 Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by. I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me. He will send from heaven and save me; He reproaches him who tramples upon me. Selah. God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth. My soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows and their tongue a sharp sword.” (Ps. 57:1-4). As part of the model prayer, Jesus also urges every believer to pray for deliverance from evil. “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’” (Matt. 6:13). “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.” (Jo. 17:15). “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 Jo. 5:19). Like Doeg, the accuser of the brethren is constantly watching you to make charges against you. Are you turning to Jesus each day to seek deliverance for yourself and others from the evil one?

2. Truth: When You Encounter Deceit, Pray For and Speak God’s Truth. Ps. 52:2.

  • David lamented how Doeg’s deceit had caused the death of so many innocent lives. David rebuked Doeg for using deceitful words to cause the death of 85 men of God: “Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.” (Ps. 52:2). David, however, placed the high priest in a vulnerable place because of his own deceit.

  • Doeg manipulated Saul at a time when Saul was jealous and paranoid of David. Because God had anointed David to become king, Saul became consumed with jealousy and paranoia. Knowing how Saul felt about David, Doeg deceived Saul into believing that Ahimelech knowingly sought out David to assist him in a conspiracy against Saul. “Then Saul heard that David and the men who were with him had been discovered . . . Saul said to his servants who stood around him, ‘Hear now, O Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse also give to all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? For all of you have conspired against me so that there is no one who discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you who is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me to lie in ambush, as it is this day.’ Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing by the servants of Saul, said, ‘I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10 He inquired of the Lord for him, gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.’” (1 Sam. 22:6-10). Saul had become so warped in his thinking that he believed that his people had conspired against him. He even believed that his son Jonathan had hired David to try to kill him. Doeg then saw an opportunity for revenge against the Jews and personal gain. By turning Saul against the high priest, he could obtain revenge by sowing divisions amongst the Jews. He also could gain power and influence within Saul’s court as an advisor.

Arent de Gelder: Ahimelech giving Goliath's sword to David

Arent de Gelder 1645 – 1727 (Ahimelech giving Goliath's sword to David)2

  • Doeg used lies to inflame Saul into sentencing the high priest to death without a trial. The high priest knew that something was not right with David’s visit. Thus, he asked David to explain why he was alone (1 Sam. 21:1). In response, David lied about the reasons for his visit: “David said to Ahimelech the priest, ‘The king has commissioned me with a matter and has said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about the matter on which I am sending you and with which I have commissioned you; and I have directed the young men to a certain place.”’’ (1 Sam. 21:2). The high priest could not have broken any law if David deceived him as to the reasons for his visit. Nevertheless, based upon Doeg’s false accusations, Saul accused the high priest of conspiring with David. He then ordered his death: “11 Then the king sent someone to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s household, the priests who were in Nob; and all of them came to the king. 12 Saul said, ‘Listen now, son of Ahitub.’ And he answered, ‘Here I am, my lord.’ 13 Saul then said to him, ‘Why have you and the son of Jesse conspired against me, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he would rise up against me by lying in ambush as it is this day?’ 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king and said, ‘And who among all your servants is as faithful as David, even the king’s son-in-law, who is captain over your guard, and is honored in your house? 15 Did I just begin to inquire of God for him today? Far be it from me! Do not let the king impute anything to his servant or to any of the household of my father, for your servant knows nothing at all of this whole affair.’ 16 But the king said, ‘You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s household!’” (1 Sam. 22:11-16). If the high priest had wanted to do so, he could have blamed David for deceiving him. Instead of preaching the need for Saul to forgive David, Ahimelech led by his own example.

  • Avoid the company of those who practice lies and deceit. The Bible warns believers that they will find God’s blessings if they avoid the company of those who embrace evil: “Blessed is the person who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” (Ps. 1:1). There is no good that can come from keeping company with those who employ lies and deceit: “For there is nothing trustworthy in their mouth; their inward part is destruction itself. Their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.” (Ps. 5:9; Ro. 3:13). “Behold, an evil person is pregnant with injustice, and he conceives harm and gives birth to lies.” (Ps. 7:14). “You let your mouth loose in evil, and your tongue harnesses deceit.” (Ps. 50:19). “But no one among mankind can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (Jam. 3:8). Saul missed out of God’s blessings because he surrounded himself with evil.

  • When you use lies and deceit, you act under Satan’s influence. Doeg and Saul were solely responsible for the death of the priests. But David was not representing God when he lied to the high priest regarding the reasons for his visit to the temple: “God is not a man, that He would lie, nor a son of man, that He would change His mind; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Nu. 23:19). Those who use lies and deceit act under Satan’s influence: “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Jo. 8:44). If you are telling lies or trying to deceive others, Satan is using you to mislead others. God wants you to pray for His truth and practice it in your own life.

  • As Jesus’ ambassador, walk with truth, righteousness, and integrity. You are Jesus’ ambassador (2 Cor. 5:22). You further represent His light (Matt. 5:14). Thus, He calls upon you to be blameless and righteous: “so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil. 1:11). Do your words and actions accurately reflect Jesus?

3. Love: When Evil Abounds, Pray For and Practice God’s Love. Ps. 52:3-4.

  • David lamented how Doeg loved evil, lies and deceit. David condemned Doeg for feeling no remorse for his actions and for loving evil, lies, and deceit: “You love evil more than good, lies more than speaking what is right. Selah You love all words that devour, You deceitful tongue.” (Ps. 52:3-4). Those who reject God’s truth do so because they love darkness: “And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil.” (Jo. 3:19). David learned from his wilderness experience not to be consumed with darkness. Instead, he learned to practice God’s love and forgiveness to those who harmed him.

1 Samuel 22:6-23 Doeg the Dog! | If I Walked With Jesus

Doeg murdered innocent priests and others3

  • Doeg carried out Saul’s death sentence on the high priest because he loved evil. Saul tried in vain to have the Jews kill the high priest. When they would not submit to this sin, Saul turned to the Doeg the Edomite to kill the high priest. Doeg was willing to do this because he loved evil: “The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor is shown no compassion in his eyes.” (Prov. 21:10). Even worse, Saul then let him murder the other priests who had not even been accused of a crime: “17 And the king said to the guards who were attending him, ‘Turn around and put the priests of the Lord to death, because their hand also is with David and because they knew that he was fleeing and did not reveal it to me.’ But the servants of the king were not willing to put forth their hands to attack the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, ‘You turn around and attack the priests.’ And Doeg the Edomite turned around and attacked the priests, and he killed that day eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19 And he struck Nob the city of the priests with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and infants; also oxen, donkeys, and sheep he struck with the edge of the sword.” (1 Sam. 22:17-19). Saul was willing to kill his own people. But he hesitated when God directed him to kill the Jews’ enemies. He refused to kill the Amalekites and their king when God directed him to do so through Samuel (1 Sam. 15:9). When he first formed an army, he sent most of the troops home in the hopes that he would not provoke a fight (1 Sam. 13:2). Saul, however, was willing to kill David and even his own son Jonathan. Now, Saul had his servant murder the high priest, 84 other innocent priests, women, children, and animals.

  • The foreshadow of Satan’s attack upon Christ and the Church. One commentator observes: “Saul is a prototype of the antichrists who have come and who will come, resisting God and His Messiah, Jesus Christ. Herod is one such antichrist (see Matt. 2). The scribes and Pharisees are another example of antichrists (see Matt. 27:18; Mk. 15:10; Jo. 15:10; Jo. 11:47-48.). As Saul joins forces with Doeg, a Gentile, in his attempt to do away with David’s threat to his throne, the Jewish leaders joined forces with the Gentiles to execute Christ. David is a prototype of Christ, who is rejected and resisted because he is to become God’s king. Ahimelech is a prototype of all those who suffer and die for associating with Jesus Christ, as he died for his association with David.” (Robert L. (Bob) Deffinbaugh, 19. “Saul Loses His Grip” (1 Samuel 22:5-23:14)).4

  • When darkness abounds, show God’s love to your enemies. Through God’s molding in the wilderness, David learned to respond to evil with God’s love. For example, David later responded to Saul’s attacks with love. This caused Saul to repent: “And he [Saul] said to David, ‘You are more righteous than I; for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt maliciously with you.”’ (1 Sam. 24:17). As another example, when David later became King of Israel, he faced another similar test when Shimei publicly cursed and slandered him for Saul’s death (2 Sam. 16:5-6). David responded by showing Shimei forgiveness in the hopes that God would also forgive and restore him (2 Sam. 16:12). Shimei later also repented of his sins, and David also forgave him (2 Sam. 19:16-23). Jesus encourages believers to love their enemies: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matt. 5:44). When you are slandered or attacked or faced with evil, will you respond to your attacker with love and forgiveness?

4. Repentance: When Evil Abounds, Pray For and Practice Repentance. Ps. 52:5.

  • David warned Doeg that his embrace of evil would eventually lead to God’s judgment. David gave Doeg a chance to repent by warning that God would hold him accountable for his evil acts: “But God will break you down forever; He will snatch you up and tear you away from your tent, and uproot you from the land of the living. Selah” (Ps. 52:5). God gives every sinner that chance to repent because He does not want any to perish.

  • Doeg’s pride led to his ultimate judgment. Doeg’s boasts of his evil acts stemmed from pride (Ps. 52:1). Solomon warned: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Prov. 16:18). Doeg’s pride led to his destruction. “You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD loathes the person of bloodshed and deceit.” (Ps. 5:6). “But You, God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction; men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days. But I will trust in You.” (Ps. 55:23).

  • Saul’s seven deadly sins. Psalm 52 condemns Doeg for inducing Saul to act. But Saul committed several deadly sins in issuing his death sentence. First, Saul acted out of vengeance when vengeance belongs to God alone (Dt. 32:35; Ps. 94:1-2, 16, 23; Ro. 12:17, 19). Second, the punishment had to be proportional to the crime (Ex. 21:22-24; Lev. 24:18-22). Capital punishment typically required murder or some other similar crime (e.g., Lev. 24:17). Unintentional aid to a fugitive was not a capital offense. Even if these acts were a crime, the other priests and the women and children in the community did not deserve to die. Third, God limited capital punishment to circumstances where two or more witnesses existed: “If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.” (Nu. 35:30; Dt. 17:6). Fourth, the high priest was entitled to a trial by an impartial jury. “[T]hen the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the blood avenger according to these ordinances. . .” (Nu. 35:24-35). This also required an unbiased judge (Lev. 19:15; Ex. 23:8; Dt. 16:19; 10:17; 1 Pet. 1:17-19). Sixth, to protect against perjury, each witness had to testify outside the presence of the other, and each witness had to be thoroughly cross-examined (Dt. 19:16-20; 5:20; Ex. 20:16). Finally, Saul was to take direction from the high priest. “And the man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the LORD your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.” (Dt. 17:12). For breaking these laws, Saul placed a death sentence on himself.

  • Study the Word to learn of your sins and repent when God exposes your sins. Doeg and Saul might have avoided their sins if they had feared God and studied His Word. But they were blinded to their sins because they both loved darkness. Paul exhorts you not to make the same mistake as many churches do in ignoring the Old Testament. Paul encourages you to study the Law so that your sins become known to you (Ro. 3:20; 7:7). You should then repent of your sins once they become known to you. God can then forgive you and cleanse you for His holy use (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 5:23; Mk 1:15; Acts 3:18; Eph. 1:7; 1 Jo. 1:9). Are you reading the Word to expose and repent of your sins?

  • Forgive others so that God can forgive you. Doeg and Saul needed to forgive others who had allegedly hurt their pride. If someone sins against you, Jesus says that you must forgive that person “up to seventy times seven” times (Matt. 18:22). If a believer does not forgive another believer, God will not forgive the believer: ‘“I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” (Matt. 18:32-35). Is there anyone in your life that you need to forgive?

  • The unsaved will be repaid according to their deeds. Because God is just, He must judge sin. The Apostle Paul also stated: “ . . . for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7-8). “Who will render to each person according to his deeds” (Ro. 2:6). Solomon also quoted a variation on this statement in Proverbs: “He who sows iniquity will reap vanity, and the rod of his fury will perish.” (Prov. 22:8). The prophet Hosea also quoted a variation of this statement as well: “For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; it yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up.” (Hos. 8:7). Even Jesus stated: “For the Son of Man . . . will then repay every man according to his deeds.” (Matt. 16:27). This also applies to believers: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive compensation for his deeds done through the body, in accordance with what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10). Believers can give thanks that Jesus paid the penalty for your sins at the cross. If we were all judged by our deeds, none would be found worthy (Ro. 3:10).

  • Direct sinners to the path found only through Jesus Christ. The judgment of sinners should trouble believers. Satan’s use of people like Saul and Doeg to kill the members of God’s Church shows that everyone is in need of salvation. Belief in the name of Jesus Christ alone brings salvation (Jo. 1:12; 3:16). He is the “door” leading to salvation for those who believe in Him (Jo. 10:7). He is also the “truth” and the “way” (Jo. 14:6). Are you directing sinners to the only door and way leading to eternal salvation?

5. Courage: When Evil Abounds, Pray for the Courage from the Spirit. Ps. 52:6-7.

  • David stated that the righteous would realize that they had no reason to fear evil. David found comfort in knowing that evil doers like Doeg would one day be humbled and cast down before God: “The righteous will see and fear, and they will laugh at him, saying, ‘Behold, the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and was strong in his evil desire.’” (Ps. 52:6-7). “Previously David told us about Doeg’s sins of destructive and deceitful words and of loving evil and lying. Here he exposed an associated sin – a failure to trust God and the trust of great riches instead. We often are drawn to evil and lying because we fail to trust that God can and will work through goodness and truth. We lie to ourselves, saying that we must cut these corners, work this evil, or promote this lie because it’s the only way to get things done. In writing, trusted in the abundance of his riches, David may point to something only implied in the 1 Samuel 21-22 account: that Doeg did this for the sake of riches, either immediate or eventual. For the sake of money he murdered more than 85 people. 1 Samuel 22 indicates that Doeg did this to gain the favor of Saul, and the favor of a king could be a path to significant riches.” (David Guzik on Ps. 52) (emphasis original).5

  • When you face evil, let the Holy Spirit strengthen you. God has not given you a spirit of fear in facing evil. Instead, He has given you a spirit of strength: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7). “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons and daughters by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!”’ (Ro. 8:15). “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” (Eph. 6:10). “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13). The only fear that you are commanded to have is of God (Prov. 1:7). And fearing God is defined as hating all things that are evil (Prov. 8:13). If you feel fear, turn to God and pray for strength.

  • Use the strength of the Spirit to also encourage others. When David learned of Saul’s actions, he showed regret to Ahimelech’s son Abiathar. He then comforted Abiathar and offered him shelter and protection (1 Sam. 22:20-23). David was a sinner. He lied to gain the high priest’s help. The high priest might have helped David and even fled with him. But the priest was left off guard when Saul accused him of treason. David’s actions contributed to the high priest’s death. His sorrow formed the inspiration for Psalm 52. David further did more than express sorrow. He sought to care for Abiathar by offering him both comfort and shelter. When God comforts you and strengthens you, He wants you to pay it forward to encourage and strengthen others: “Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thess. 4:18). “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:13; 10:25). Like David, are you encouraging others?

6. Trust: When Evil Abounds, Place Your Trust in God to Find His Peace. Ps. 52:8.

  • David stated that he would find peace in the face of evil by trusting God. Although David felt great pain in the loss of so many priests, he found peace by trusting God: “But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the faithfulness of God forever and ever.” (Ps. 52:8). The olive tree was a symbol of God’s peace, life, and strength (Gen. 8:11). Those who trust in God will grow with His living waters: “He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Ps. 1:3).

  • When evil people seem to prosper, place your trust in God. David wrote Psalm 52 after Doeg succeeded in killing 85 innocent priests and their families. He had not yet been held accountable. But David still trusted in God’s timing. Even Jesus observed that God the Father “ . . . causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45). Although God may also allow sinners to face judgment on Earth for their sins, that is within His discretion and subject to His greater plans for good (Ro. 8:28). Thus, even when evil seems to prevail, place your trust that God is in control and has a greater plan. “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Ps. 62:8).

  • God also can allow the innocent to suffer. God may allow the innocent people, like the 85 priests, to suffer when it is necessary as part of His greater plan. The best example of this was Jesus. He died without sin so that mankind’s sins could be cast upon Him (2 Cor. 5:21). Thus, you should never look only to your circumstances to discern God’s will. You should be praying and reading the Word to allow God to direct your path.

  • Trust God to be just and fair. In the face of evil, the psalms are also filled with praises for God’s just and fair character: “And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples fairly.” (Ps. 9:8). “Your throne, God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.” (Ps. 45:6). “May the nations be glad and sing for joy; for You will judge the peoples with fairness and guide the nations on the earth. Selah” (Ps. 67:4). “Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns; indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples fairly.’ . . . Before the LORD, for He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in His faithfulness.” (Ps. 96:10, 13). “Before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with fairness.” (Ps. 98:9). “[B]ecause He has set a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all people by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31). Even though evil may at times appear to be rampant, God will ultimately judge every evil act. But you need to have patience for God to act in His timing, not yours.

7. Praise: In the Face of Evil, Praise God’s Faithfulness and Sovereignty. Ps. 52:9.

  • David promised to praise God. Even though David was still a fugitive from Saul and evil seemed to prevail, David promised to praise God because He is faithful and in control: “I will praise You forever, because You have done it, and I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.” (Ps. 52:9). You can take your eyes off yourself and your sorrow by praising God: “That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” (Ps. 30:12).

  • Praise God that He is sovereign and in control, even when evil seems to be winning. Even when it seemed that Doeg and Saul were winning the battle by butchering the priests, God was in control. He twice pronounced judgment upon the priesthood of Eli (1 Sam. 2:27-34; 3:11-14). God fulfilled the first part of this prophecy when Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died on the same day (1 Sam. 2:34; 4:11). Deog’s killing of all but one of the remaining sons of the priesthood fulfilled another part of this prophecy (1 Sam. 2:33). This prophecy was again fulfilled in the days of King Solomon when God took the priesthood away from the line that went through Abiathar (1 Kgs. 2:27, 35). These verses show that God is always in control, even if it seems that Satan is winning.

  • Praise God because He is faithful. David began Psalm 52 with a praise for God’s faithfulness: “The faithfulness of God endures all day long.” (Ps. 52:1b). The Psalms are also filled with praises for God’s faithfulness: “Your mercy, LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” (Ps. 36:5). “I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your mercy and Your truth from the great congregation.” (Ps. 40:10). “ . . . I will make Your faithfulness known with my mouth.” (Ps. 89:1). “Your faithfulness continues throughout generations; You established the earth, and it stands.” (Ps. 119:90). Are you praising God’s faithfulness?

  • Praise God for His deliverance. As our example, David always gave all the credit back to God when he was victorious: “I will sing a new song to You, O God; upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You, who gives salvation to kings, who rescues David His servant from the evil sword.” (Ps. 144:9-10). “He rescues me from my enemies; You indeed lift me above those who rise up against me; You rescue me from a violent man . . . He gives great deliverance to His king, and shows lovingkindness to His anointed, to David and his descendants forever.” (Ps. 18:48, 50; 2 Sam. 22:51). “O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle.” (Ps. 140:7). “The LORD is their strength, and He is a saving defense to His anointed.” (Ps. 22:8). “Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, yet I do not turn aside from Your testimonies.” (Ps. 119:157). “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2 Tim. 4:18). When God delivers you, do you also give Him the full credit?