Psalms 53 and 14 – God in third person.

Today’s (Su 05/02/2017) FDR is Psalm 53 and can be read by clicking on this link.

This short Psalm and the earlier appearing Psalm 14 mimic each other in that they largely have the same content.  Unlike many other psalms in this book God is not addressed here in first person but in the third person.

Some commentaries only make reference to Psalm 14 and treat 53 as the same.

So what are we to make of these almost twin images?

The claim in v1 that “ God does not care” is not only expressed here but in Ps 10:4.   Yet that is what we hear from those who appear unable to stand in the weight of evil around us who are ‘benighted’, or put in the deepest dark of night.

In these two psalms, this phrase challenges two basic tenets of the books of psalms; (a) the ability of God to hear prayers, and (b) the ability of God to punish the human wrongs that are lamented in the Psalms.  Also for us, since Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, this phrase challenges Jesus’ promise to forgive our sins and restore us into a relationship with His Father, our Lord Almighty God.

We often hear these views expressed  today.  Through their own personal experience of trouble and hardship some see God as not caring about them or other people’s situations.  So too, we can become trapped by our unfounded guilt, and express or act as if our God does not care.

God’s gift of His Son to us does in fact show God Cares for us.

Verse 53:5 speaks in the leader’s voice of their people and asks an important question for us all as God’s ambassadors:  “Are these who devour and destroy God’s people so witless as to not call on, or pray to God?”  (Here the words are used to convey a regard for the Almighty God, even to just realise there is a God who cares and will bring judgement.)

So at v6, we see the inevitable sentence imposed on those who don’t acknowledge God.  “for God has rejected them.”

Both psalms close with v7, that deliverance will come and God’s people will be restored.

1 Peter 4:10 & 11 puts it like this:

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

May God’s name be praised in all the earth.

Glenn M.