With God Forever
(H) For the director of the choir, a Maskil of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul and said to him, “David has come to the house of Abimelech.” (1) Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God (endures) all day long. (2) Your tongue plots destruction like a sharpened razor working treachery. (3) You love evil more than good and falsehood more than speaking the truth. (Selah) (4) You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue, (5) but God will pull you down once and for all. He will snatch you up and tear you from your tent. He will uproot you from the land of the living. (Selah) (6) The righteous will see and fear and will mock at him saying, (7) “See (what happens to) the man who does not make God his refuge but trusts in the abundance of his wealth and is firmly set in his destructive ways.” (8) But I am like a green olive tree, flourishing in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. (9) I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful ones I will wait on your name, for it is good.
Several word repetitions lead us to the structure of the psalm. First, God’s “steadfast love” occurs twice. In the first mention (vs. 1), God’s love is strongly contrasted with the evil behavior of David’s enemy, Doeg, who both boasted of “evil” (vs. 1) and loved “evil more than good” (vs. 3). In the second mention, David expresses his personal commitment to trusting forever in God’s “steadfast love” (vs. 8). Along with Doeg’s boasting and his love for “evil,” his deceitful “tongue” is pictured as “plotting destruction like a sharpened razor working treachery” (vs. 2) and as “loving all words that devour” (vs. 4). Note also the vivid descriptions of Doeg’s destiny where David anticipates the time when God will “pull you down...snatch you up...tear you from your tent...(and) uproot you” (vs. 5).
In the latter part of the psalm, we find two more repetitions that provide us with a summary of its message. First, the evil man “trusts in the abundance of his wealth” and faces certain destruction (vs. 7). In contrast, David, representing the godly, testifies: “I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever” (vs. 8). The second repetition of “trust” includes an eternal perspective. Because David trusts in God’s love “forever and ever” (vs. 8), he can rest in the assurance of “forever” praising God in the presence of the godly (vs. 9).
I. The folly of the wicked (1-4)
II. The future of the wicked (5-7)
III. The future of the faithful (8 & 9)
Accepting or rejecting the steadfast love of God determines whether we dwell eternally in his presence or face certain judgment.
In Psalm 23, David gives us one of the clearest Old Testament statements regarding the eternal life that those who belong to God possess: “...and I shall dwell in the house of Yahweh forever” (vs. 6). The end of Psalm 52 likewise provides a clear reference to life eternal, the destiny of those who love God. Contrasted with the wicked, those who trust in the Lord are assured that they will dwell with him forever.
This psalm metaphorically pictures our future in terms of a “green olive tree (healthy and full of life), flourishing in the house of God” (vs. 8). David then describes that future in these words: “I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever” (vs. 8). If that were not enough, he goes on in the same verse to say, “I will praise you forever for what you have done, in the presence of your faithful ones” (vs. 9). The psalmist could hardly have given a stronger testimony to the truth that after death those who walk with Yahweh on earth will dwell with him in heaven forever.