Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?The lovingkindness of God endures all day long. Your tongue devises destruction,Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good,And falsehood more than speaking what is right. Selah. You love all words that devour,O deceitful tongue. But God will break you down forever;He will take you away and tear you away from your tent,And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah. The righteous will see it and fear,And will [scoffingly] laugh, saying, “Look, [this is] the man who would not make God his strength [his stronghold and fortress],But trusted in the abundance of his riches,Taking refuge in his wealth.” But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;I trust [confidently] in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. I will thank You forever, because You have done it, [You have rescued me and kept me safe].I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.
Recent studies on growing up in America shows that one of every four girls is abused as a child, and one of every six boys likewise suffers abuse.
A beautiful young woman told some friends of mine, “My dad beat us. As we got older his abuse got worse. He beat me so hard that he knocked my top teeth backward, broke my jaw, and gave me a black eye.”
Child abuse is only one facet of victimization. Victimization occurs whenever one person takes advantage of another.
Has anyone done that to you or someone you know?
“Doeg,” David answers in Psalm 52.
Fleeing from Saul, David had stopped for assistance at Nob, the home of Ahimelech, the priest. David lied to secure help, telling Ahimelech he was on a mission for Saul rather than running for his life.
Doeg, chief shepherd for Saul, witnessed the entire matter and reported it to Saul. Saul ordered Ahimelech’s death and that of his whole family. Saul’s guards refused to touch the priest- not Doeg. Only Abiathar, son of Ahimelech escaped to David.
Psalm 52 opens by accusing Doeg. “Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man? Why do you boast all day long?”
Doeg, the representative of all victimizers revels in his deeds and feels no repentance nor shame. Psalm 52 reveals the character of such a person:
First, there are the words of destruction and deceit. Before Doeg acted came the words. What was said became what he did. Victimizers scheme and plot. While their actions may seem to be spontaneous spur-of-the-moment, in reality they are coldly calculated and intentional. Like a razor, their actions cut fast on the victim.
When Doeg saw David with Ahimelech at Nob, he didn’t reveal his intentions as to what he would do and neither did he tell Saul the truth later. Those who victimize others lull them into a false sense of security and safety through masterful techniques of deception.
Second, the victimizer holds upside-down values. While moral persons save the innocent, victimizers mercilessly and quickly move to destroy whoever is in their path as they work to gain advantage through misrepresentation including direct and indirect lying.
While we might think the psalm applies to someone we know, it is a hard thing to apply it to ourselves. Does the nature of Doeg lie within me? Am I a person who would wrong or hurt someone else in order to advance myself or my happiness?
In verse five, Psalm 52 makes a dramatic shift. The day of reckoning will come for God will not let the victimizer get away with his deeds. One day the tables will turn.
At the Day of Judgement the righteous will have the advantage, looking down rather than up at the victimizer. On that day they will say, “Here now is the man (or woman) who did not make God their stronghold but trusted in their great wealth and grew strong by destroying others.”
We must not see this as condemnation of these here as a blanket disapproval of wealth, only wealth that has been gained by deceit or the exploitation of others. And wealth isn’t only money but anything that seems to give the victimizers an abundance of personality, power, charm, savvy, intellect, influence, connection, or an abundance of resources.
If we have to destroy others in order to gain personal happiness then our “wealth” is illegitimate and God will hold us accountable. The only permissible wealth for a believer is that which is gained through the exercise of love.
Psalm 52 says that long after the persons of “wealth” have been torn up and uprooted, the faithful will be experiencing blessings in the house of God.
David, even after the atrocities by Doeg against the town of Nob and the house of Ahimelech, is still able to say, “I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever.” In the aftermath of Doeg’s butchery, when it appears in the devastation of the scene littered with slain bodies that God’s love never showed up. It will only sometimes be later- when eternities values are included in the equation- that we gain perspective. Those who victimize have no future for God’s tomorrow is reserved only for those who trust Him.
Absent from Psalm 52 is a confession of failure on David’s part. It was his lie to Ahimelech that invoked the wrath of Saul. While we should not accept more blame or guilt than what rightly belongs to us, we must own up to our responsibility in creating a mess. While David’s lie was wrong, it did not necessitate the heinous crime committed by Doeg. We must not justify wrongs, especially when they are greater by justifying our actions as a response to someone else’s wrong deeds. Rather we are to confess our own sins and then shed any guilty feeling for those things we did not do. The rest of the responsibility is to be placed on the person to whom it belongs.
Victimizers often justify their actions by accusing the victim of causing them to act as they do. They use the failures or mistakes of others to gain control and to manipulate their victims into believing they wrongs they are receiving is because they deserve to be treated that way. That is the root philosophy of the devil who uses our imperfections to justify his destructive actions. He convinces us that we deserve what he brings upon us. But Christ has broken the curse and liberated the captive and forgiven the sinner. We are no longer victims but we have been “made more than conquerors” through Christ Jesus. So today may the Holy Spirit make you know that the devil, the world, and none other has the right to victimize us at any time for any reason because we have been “bought with a price” the precious blood of Jesus.
One day God will set everything right. The evildoers will be punished and the righteous will be rewarded. Until that day let us strive to live righteously, to bless rather than taking the advantage of others, and to trust God to deal with those who attempt to misuse or mistreat us. Let us stand firm in who we are and whose we are and resist those who would victimize or manipulate us. Let us guard our hearts that we don’t allow our sin nature to make us become a victimizer.
Dr. John Thompson