A headline about Psalm 52 might have read something like this: “Saul orders slaughter of priest and family, over eighty-five dead.” In 1 Samuel 21 and 22, we learn that David, fearing for his life, visits the house of the priest Ahimelech of Nob, who provides him with bread for sustenance and the sword of Goliath for protection. When Saul learns of this apparent betrayal, he orders Doeg, the Edomite, to kill Ahimelech and his entire family (eighty-five men plus women, children, infants, and animals). It is a gruesome and tragic story.
Psalm 52 is David’s response to this horrific news. He cries out, “All day long you are plotting destruction. Your tongue is like a sharp razor, you worker of treachery. You love evil more than good.” David is enraged. He cries out against the injustice that led to the deaths of so many innocents.
Yet David does not get lost in his anger. After raising his voice against the evil he has seen, he returns to the goodness of God. Like a green olive tree, David will bear fruit, trusting in the steadfast love of God. Even amidst all the destruction he has witnessed, David still says, “I will proclaim your name, for it is good.”
Amidst the tragic headlines that inundate our twenty-four-hour news cycles, we see plenty of injustice to cry out against—and cry out we should! Yet, we must not get lost in our anger. Our faith calls us to raise our voices and to remember that God is good. We are the green olive tree, planted in the house of God, where we will be rooted in the steadfast love of God forever.
God, guide my tongue so that I can speak out against injustice while remaining rooted in your steadfast love. Make me like a green olive tree, bearing fruit and proclaiming your name, for it is good. Amen.
This reading from Amos provides more indication of the reasons for God’s coming judgment. Too many in Israel have been oppressing the poor. They cannot wait for religious festivals to end so that they can make more money through corrupt trade, including what we now call human trafficking. If we understand the psalmist to be David, the warning he issues in this passage concern Saul. Because Saul has turned to evil, God will not allow him to remain in power. While God is love, God also sometimes brings judgment. The author of Colossians extols the elevated status of Christ, who has reconciled us to himself through his death. In Luke, Mary prioritizes spending time with Jesus, while Martha focuses on working for Jesus. It is Mary who receives Jesus’ praise.
Read Amos 8:1-12. Who in your community has been left behind in the famine from hearing the words of the Lord? How can you care for them?
Read Psalm 52. How do you remain rooted in God’s steadfast love when you cry out against injustice?
Read Colossians 1:15-28. What do you need to let fall away to reveal the mystery of Christ in you?
Read Luke 10:38-42. How do you focus on Christ even as you attend to the necessary tasks of daily life?
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