Scripture reading – Psalm 53; Psalm 60

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Our Scripture reading is from two psalms of David, Psalm 53 and Psalm 60. Today’s Bible study is taken from Psalm 53.

You may notice that Psalm 53 is nearly a restatement of truths observed by David in Psalm 14. The title of Psalm 53 provided the office of the person to whom it was addressed, “the Chief Musician,” and the instrument used to accompany the singer, Mahalath (probably a stringed instrument). We also find the name of the melody, Maschil, selected to accompany the psalm. As noted, David was identified as the author.

Psalm 53 – An Observation of the Human Condition

I invite you to consider three significant truths stated in Psalm 53. First, the fact of universal wickedness (Psalm 53:1-3). Secondly, the wicked’s denial of God’s providence (Psalm 53:4-5). Lastly, David prayed that the LORD would save Israel and that rejoicing and gladness would be restored (Psalm 53:6).

The Fool and His Plight (Psalm 53:1-3)

David’s observations concerning the condition of man were not only well-known but self-evident to an honest observer. Consider the folly of fools, for they are atheists in word and deed! We read:

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” We find the phrase “there is” in italics, indicating editors added it to clarify the passage. I suggest, however, that the addition was unnecessary, for the fool’s folly is that he has denied God in his heart and deeds. David observed that the atheism of the fool carries him down a path of corruption and destruction. Indeed, “there is none that doeth good” (Psalm 53:1b; Romans 3:12).

The doctrine of God’s omniscience was stated in the next verse, where we read, “God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God” (Psalm 53:2). Having denied God, the fool may be convinced his sins go unnoticed and unpunished. Yet, God’s gaze is perpetually upon humanity, and he sees and tries the hearts to see if any seek Him (Psalm 53:2).

Consider also that the plight of man is universal and without exception: “Every one of them [every man, woman, boy, and girl] is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 53:3; Romans 3:12). Universal rebellion; universal immorality; universal sin… “There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Psalm 53:3).

Ponder that truth for a moment. There are no exceptions to the infection of sin. We are all infected by its curse, and the mass of humanity past, present, and future are born under the curse of sin (of course, the one exception was Jesus Christ who, though born of a woman, was not born of the seed of man, but of the Holy Spirit, Luke 1:35).

The apostle Paul observed the universality of sin when he wrote: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The universal consequence of sin is that “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

The Wicked’s Denial of the Providence of God (Psalm 53:4-5)

The fool has rejected God and denied the visible evidence of His essence and providences as seen in His creation daily (Psalm 53:4a). David warned the heathen that God is jealous of His people. The wicked will not go unpunished for their foul treatment of the saints of God (Psalm 53:4b).

There is a sad irony in this psalm. On the one hand, the wicked boast, “There is no God,” nevertheless, the judgment day is approaching, and all who set themselves against the LORD will be destroyed (Psalm 53:5a). The wicked will be put to shame, and the LORD will hold them in contempt (Psalm 53:5b).


David’s Prayer and Intercession for Israel (Psalm 53:6)

Psalm 53 concludes with David looking forward to the day Israel will be saved. On that day, “Jacob shall rejoice” (the lineage of the Twelve Tribes), and “Israel shall be glad” (Psalm 53:6). Whom did God send to answer David’s prayer for a Savior? His name was Jesus, “for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).


Closing thoughts –

Without exception, every man or woman who rejects God and refuses His offer of salvation through the sacrifice of His Son…is foolish. We might boast of our good works, but the prophet Isaiah declared, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). A sinner cannot be saved “by works of righteousness which [he has] done, but according to [God’s] mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5).  

Is He your Savior?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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