Psalm 52 contrasts two ways of life—the way of destruction and the way of flourishing.
David remembers his enemy Doeg as a perfect example of the way of destruction (Psalm 52:2). He was proud and used his words and sword to slaughter an entire town of innocents, in the hope of promotion (1 Samuel 22:9-10, 18-19). Schemers like Doeg love evil more than good (Psalm 52:3-4). They prefer lies to truth, and rely on destroying others to promote themselves (Psalm 52:3, 7). But David knows, people like Doeg will be destroyed.
In contrast, the way of the righteous is marked by life. The righteous are those that trust God to provide, instead of their clever words. Instead of plotting evil against others, they flourish because God gives them what they need (Psalm 52:8). Like an olive tree planted in God’s house, they enjoy his protection and his goodness. And from far away they watch the destruction of the destroyer and laugh at the ruin of evil (Psalm 52:6).
Then in the middle of the psalm, God gives a verdict. It stands between the way of the destroyer and the way of the flourisher. Like Doeg’s razor-sharp schemes, God’s judgment is like a sword that separates these two ways of life. One brings death to the destroyer and the other brings life to those who trust in God. The verdict is simple. God uproots the evil destroyer like a troublesome weed, but the righteous are like permanent trees (Psalm 52:5, 8). The destroyer is dealt complete destruction while the flourishing laugh when evil is destroyed and good is vindicated (Psalm 52:6) They thank God for the good he has done and enjoy his protection and flourishing care forever (Psalm 52:8-9).
Where is the Gospel?
Jesus is the sword that divides the whole world between those who are destroyed and those who rest and flourish in him. He is the True Word or verdict of God (John 1:1, 14:6). On trial, his words pierced through the deceptive motives of his accusers (Matthew 22:15-21). Even now, his message divides the world between those who trust in destruction and those who trust in God. Jesus even predicts families will divide over him (Matthew 10:34). Just as his disciples did. Like Doeg, Judas trusted in betrayal and destruction rather than the one he followed. He betrayed Jesus in order to promote himself but he was uprooted like a weed instead (Matthew 27:3-5).
But Jesus is forever like a tree. He trusted God to deliver him even in death, and now he is alive and flourishing in the house of God (Acts 2:24; 1 Peter 3:22). And if we trust Jesus we will see him destroy the destroyer (Revelation 19:21, 20:6). We will laugh in victory when Jesus’ truth triumphs over the deceiver’s lies. We will be planted with Jesus forever in the house of God. Where we will flourish and thank him forever for the good he has done (Revelation 22:3-5). So choose the way of the righteous and trust Jesus.
See for Yourself
I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see the God who separates those who destroy from those who trust him. And may you see Jesus as the one who destroys the destroyer and causes his people to flourish in God’s house forever.