‘Waiting for Revenge’ through Psalm 52 shows how one waits upon God when he has seen evil occur.
How does one wait upon God when he has seen such ugly evil?
We are absolutely shocked when we see some absolute evil. We think we have seen everything until we see some horrible act of treachery. David saw this when Doeg and Saul absolutely wiped out the priests of Nob for giving some bread and sword to David. Doeg’s evil was simple political manipulation at the expense of the lives of the innocence.
King Saul’s guilt rested in using brute power to massacre the harmless. When they had a chance to say something, they simply said, “How did we know David was not King Saul’s friend?” David indeed was Saul’s guard, music player and help in the army. What absolute evil have you seen? Let’s join with David through Psalm 52 as we see him deal with troubling issue.
The real issue does come back to God. Why did God allow such things to happen? He is Sovereign. But after that is assimilated into our minds, there is another more important question that is focused on here, “Now that the evil is done, what will you do O God? Will you just let this evil stain muck the earth or will you eliminate it?”
We see a simple outline of Psalm 52
- An introduction to the evil (1)
- A description of the evil doer (2-4)
- God’s revenge upon him (5-7)
- David waits upon the Lord (8-9)
We first see David identifying the evil. He knew it very clearly. He heard the story from Abiathar. And no doubt, the story went over and over in his mind. David later said, “I should have known “that he would surely tell Saul. I have brought about the death of every person…” (22).
Let me summarize what happened. The full text is below. King Saul jealous over David’s recent victories and knew the people loved him more than himself. So he tried to get David’s life. At one point of despair he tells his men how disappointed he is in them. Doeg comes forth and tells the king how David had got some bread and a sword from the priests in Nob. The sword actually was David’s and belonged originally to the giant Goliath.
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After bringing the priest before Saul and finding no confession of wrong, Saul slanders them and then commands his men to kill them. No one dares touch the priests of the Lord. But the accuser Doeg the Edomite comes forward to slay them. After that he goes to Nob and wipes out every living person, including wives and young children. Saul stoops so low in his jealousy and self pity to let a heathen kill God’s innocent priests and their families. Could there be anything more menacing than this?
What evil have you seen? If the evil is to another person, the details are probably vividly clear. If it was to you, sometimes we bury the painful thoughts deep within our soul. In any case, evil is absolutely horrible. We wonder if those who claim there is no absolute truth would deny the existence of evil after the study of this scene.
Description of Evildoer (2-4)
“You love evil more than good,” said David of Doeg. Those who do evil are so immersed in their plans that they just run over any conscience. On a more simple level but still grievous, a neighbor said he found a guys wallet in the bathroom at work. Had $900. in it. He didn’t keep it but brought it to his boss.
Finally after having the owner come in, the boss suggested that he at least would say thanks to the finder. The man picked up his wallet, counted out the money, stuck his wallet in his pocket and left without one word. My neighbor got very angry at this. Who would blame him.
Doeg used his tongue to get Saul going. Through what he said he brought a whole village to destruction. By saying these things, he showed his heart. “You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.” Anyone can see how Doeg did this to get in the favor of Saul. David interestingly does not mention Doeg’s part in the actual murdering of the 85 priests.
We find that it is good to some point to hate the evil. David actually went over that mouth that brought about this whole senseless act. It is good to hate evil less we get too close to tolerating it. The paper just noted how Switzerland knew for 5 years that those people that they turned away at the border would be killed by the Nazis during WW II. We need to speak the evil of it less it be reproduced in our own presence. And even if others did it, we would never be part of such a horrible act.
God’s Revenge on Doeg (5-7)
Doeg had his reward from King Saul. He played his cards just right. But David saw into Doeg. Ultimately, Doeg would not trust God as his refuge. He trusted in his riches. He pursued his passions, and they would in the end bring him down.
“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.” (Psalms 52:7, NASB).
David knew that he could at that time do nothing about it. David was but a runaway. He himself was a refugee seeking for his own life. What power or authority did David have to rightly care for Doeg? None. And like us, David shows how the powerless, the observer of the evil, must resolve evil in his own heart. He needs to put his confidence in God who would ultimately bring destruction upon evil doers. There would be no question as to whether God would do it. The only question is when and that is up to God to decide.
Some wonder if it is wrong to wish for revenge. It is not. Revenge is needed. But revenge is the Lord’s and not ours. Yes, government leaders are to assist God in carrying out this duty of cutting off the wicked, but the average person can do no better than to trust God. By trusting God, he is able to put away personal bitterness, side with good, and find peace of mind.
David turns to his own life. He wish he could have changed things in the past, but now the past is past. He needs to turn his mind away from the evil and turn to the good, the most excellent. David focuses on the Lord Himself. God will care for the evil done. But now David needs to run to His refuge. He does not just theologically accept God as caring for everything. He personally goes and trusts God. We see his meditation here in these two verses.
But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. I will give Thee thanks forever, because Thou hast done it, And I will wait on Thy name, for it is good, in the presence of Thy godly ones. (Psalms 52:8,9).
- I am like a green olive tree in the house of God
David would focus on the grace given to him from God as he trusts in Him.
- I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever
In spite of all the surrounding evil and especially the horrendous evil acts that occur, David puts his trust in God’s covenant love. His only hope is not in governments, not even Christian organizations, but in God Himself.
- I will give Thee thanks forever
David will express his confidence in God by giving thanks for what is good and beautiful. God has revealed many ways He Himself has done good. Our mind should fix on these thoughts.
- I will wait on Thy name, for it is good
Lastly, David commits himself to wait upon God for what comes. The waiting speaks of confidence in God’s timing and plans. Both are perfect. Doeg tried to get ahead by evil means. David, however promised by God to be king, is like a runaway dog. But by waiting upon God, God will see to it that His perfect plan will come about.
What “I” statements have you made in response to evil? Have you come out of the stupor yet? Do not live in the bitterness of the evil but in the goodness of God’s plan that somehow can even incorporate such evil plotted by Doeg. We must come to the point of resolving in our heart that we trust the Lord even with evil. We will wait upon His Name and find refuge!
After witnessing evil, some people seem to never be able to get back to real living. They live as if it just happened even though it was twenty years ago. David joins back in life by joining the presence of other godly people. He says, “In the presence of Thy godly ones..” If we have taken refuge in the Lord, then we can resume life. We will not be able to do this rightly if we are trying to handle the difficulty on our own. We were not designed to do handle the burden of revenge. It belongs to God.
(See other articles on the topic of revenge.)
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, answered and said, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. “And he inquired of the LORD for him, gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”
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. And Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 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, that he should rise up against me by lying in ambush as it is this day?” 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? “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.” But the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s household!”
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. 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. 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. But one son of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the LORD. 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 Samuel 22:8-22, NASB).