Praise to Evil?
“Why is it that you offer praise to evil, oh great one?
The steadfast love of God lasts for all the day.”
(Psalm 52:3 [verse 1 in English translations])
Remember the context, it has just been reported to David that Doeg the Edomite has turned in the family of Achimelek for aiding David. All but Abiathar are murdered at Saul’s command as a result. Thus, the “great one” or “mighty one” in the text is Saul, with David raising the question, “Why do you praise evil works? They are short lived, yet God’s grace endures and will fill you throughout the day.
One of the marvelous aspects of the Psalms, though, is that they are written not just by David for the situation that David happens to find himself in. Instead, David writes them to express his struggle and prayer to God and then gives them to the church — to you and to me — as tools so that we can express our own struggles when similar situations arise. Fortunately, if we reside in America, the chance of someone coming and murdering our whole family because we supported “the other candidate” for leadership in the community is not likely. At the same time, if we live out our faith and challenge the wickedness around us, opposition will arise and there will be times of frustration and grief that will cause you to throw your hands up in the air and your face to the ground seeking deliverance from those who seek to do you ill. For those times, David gives us these psalms to teach us how to express our heart in a way that is honoring to God. Though the situations themselves may vary, the anguish of our heart remains the same. God has provided for our needs in psalms like this.