Scripture reading – Psalm 40; Psalm 58
The titles of Psalm 40 and Psalm 58 identified David as the author. Psalm 40 was addressed, “To the Chief Musician, A Psalm of David.” Psalm 58 was titled, “To the chief Musician, Altaschith [i.e., “do not destroy”], Michtam [poem] of David.” The setting of the Psalms is uncertain, but the subject matter and observations concerning the nature of the wicked fit well amid the insurrection led by Absalom, David’s son. This devotional will be taken from Psalm 58.
Psalm 58 – An Introduction
Modern Anthropology studies humankind’s past, behavior, biology, intellect, language, culture, and society. However, anthropologists do not generally address man as a spiritual being. On the other hand, Biblical Anthropology begins with the supposition that man is a created, spiritual being (Genesis 1:27; 2:7, 21-24). While evolutionary anthropologists propose unproven (and therefore, unscientific) theories to explain humanity’s origin, creationists accept the Genesis account of creation by faith (Genesis 1-2).
As a Bible believer, I believe God created mankind in His spiritual likeness (Genesis 1:27); therefore, men and women are eternal beings with soul and spirit (Genesis 2:7).
Two Opposing, Incompatible Worldviews
Humanism, an atheistic, militant, evolutionary worldview, dominates the modern age. Humanists, the purveyors of humanism, control secular education. Their philosophy and values view life and existence through a lens that rejects God as Creator and discards the observable evidence of humankind’s spiritual depravity. Therefore, humanists address societal problems (i.e., crime, violence, murder, rape, child abuse, human trafficking, et al.) as environmental rather than spiritual concerns. Their view perpetuates an ideology of victimhood that inevitably refutes responsibility for individual choices and consequences.
In contrast to humanism, the Scriptures declare that man’s problem is not environmental but spiritual. Humanity is universally sinful, without exception (Romans 3:10, 23). We sin and transgress God’s Law and Commandments because it is our nature. In the words of the prophet Jeremiah, the heart of men and women is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Psalm 58 is a brief exposition of the character of sinful man.
Penned 3,000 years ago, Psalm 58 affords us an insight into the societal problems of our day, minus the political jargon that denies and masks the wickedness of men. With that explanation as my background, permit me a brief exposition of Psalm 58.
The Failure of God’s People (Psalm 58:1)
If the setting of Psalm 58 was the time of Absalom’s insurrection, then the two questions that introduce the psalm are springing from the heart of a father who is dismayed by what has befallen him, his household, and his kingdom. Most of Israel had followed Absalom’s rebellion, and David asked, “Do ye indeed speak righteousness?” (Psalm 58:1a) In other words, do you assume your cause is righteous because you have a great following? Have you forgotten you are but “the sons of men” yourselves? (Psalm 58:1b)
The Character of the Wicked (Psalm 58:2-5)
Notice that David asserted that wickedness and violence arise from within the heart of humanity (Psalm 58:2). Men are by nature “wicked [and] estranged from the womb [and] born speaking lies” (Psalm 58:3). The tongue of men is full of poison, like the bite of a viper, and cannot be restrained (Psalm 58:4-5).
The Judgment of the Wicked (Psalm 58:6-9)
David’s focus then turned from the character of the wicked to God’s judgment. The king cried to the LORD to break the teeth of those who desired to devour and destroy him (Psalm 58:6). He prayed the strength of the wicked would melt away like melting snow. When his enemy bends the bow to shoot, David prayed they would be cut into pieces (Psalm 58:7).
The king prayed that his enemies would fade as a snail trail and wilt in the day’s heat. He longed that those who wished to destroy him would be as a stillborn babe, and their plans never see the day (Psalm 58:8). Indeed, let the wicked be taken “away as with a whirlwind” (Psalm 58:9).
The Rejoicing of the Righteous (Psalm 58:10-11)
The psalm concluded with David anticipating the righteous would rejoice in the day of God’s justice (Psalm 58:10). While the godly do not seek vengeance, they expect that the LORD will reward the righteous, knowing He is a sovereign Judge (Psalm 58:11).
Closing thoughts –
Humanists and the disingenuous would have you believe that the heart of man is good. God, however, declares the heart of man is “evil continually” (Genesis 6:5) and “deviseth mischief continually” (Proverbs 6:14). Let all who are redeemed be reminded that the wicked will not escape punishment, and the righteous will be vindicated!
Friend, you were born a sinner and estranged from God from your mother’s womb (Psalm 58:3). Lies and violence are inherently part of your nature and being (Psalm 58:4). Though you are tempted to compare yourself to others (2 Corinthians 10:12), such judgments are futile and do not remove from you the fact that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
There is hope, and that is the redemption and forgiveness of sin made available to you by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). No amount of goodwill or good works can erase the curse of your sin (Titus 3:5); however, you can be saved by believing Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day, conquering sin and death (Romans 3:24-25). I urge you to believe, “for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 3:10, 13).
For help or encouragement, you are invited to write to pastorsmith@HeartofAShepherd.com.
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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