A sermon idea based on Psalm 52.
How do you keep thriving, spiritually, when hell seems to be breaking loose in the world around you?
King David wrote this psalm in response to a tragic and brutal event in which Doeg, the Edomite, informed Saul that the Jewish priests of Nob had given David safe harbor, had prayed for him, and had supplied him for his journey.
Saul, the narcissistic despot, ordered his men to execute all of the priests for giving assistance to David. They all refused, but Doeg stepped forward. He, by himself, killed 85 priests along with all of their wives, children, and animals. He wiped out an entire community of God’s servants.
David was heartbroken over this and cried out to God expressing his shock and anger toward Doeg. But he closes the psalm by declaring that, in spite of this violent opposition, he himself was still thriving: “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.”
We are surrounded by injustice today, committed by men like Doeg who will spare no one in their quest for power. Sometimes it seems hopeless. It seems as if things will never get better.
How do we, even when hope seems lost, continue to thrive like a fresh, green olive tree in the presence of God?
In the final two verses, David gives us three answers:
- Trust the love of God like never before.
- Thank God for what he has done.
- Proclaim God’s name and character to others.
All three actions represent the fruit of bold intentionality about keeping God’s name and character at the forefront of our minds even when times are crazy.
This is how we thrive. We trust. We thank. We proclaim!
About the Art: Gogh, Vincent van, 1853-1890. Olive Trees, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.