Psalm 54 – Help Me The Psalms help us to worship even when conditions are desperate – when vicious people are out to get us. Our tendency is to compartmentalize our fears and frustrations and leave them at the door of the sanctuary. David brings all of his fears before God. The Psalms insist on a negativity (a lament) that is in keeping with the evil we face in daily life.
Psalm 53 – The Roots of Shame The differences between Psalm 14 and Psalm 53 are slight but significant. Psalm 14 gives hope to the faithful who are vulnerable to the foolish and who use their power to oppress. Psalm 53 is a warning to the fool. The consequences for denial are shame, guilt, and fear.
Psalm 52 – The Great Hero The ability of Christians to discern good and evil is essential. Yet such discernment appears to be at an all-time low. Like the Israelites in Isaiah’s day Christians are inclined to “call evil good and good evil.” When an arrogant, deceitful, and deceptive person – the kind of person described in Psalm 52 – receives widespread popular support from Christians you know something is terribly wrong. Discernment has little to do with the politics of the left or right but a great deal to do with biblical wisdom.
Psalm 50 – Sunday Worship The consecrated people of God are summoned before the Lord to be confronted for their mindless religious formality and their hard-hearted hypocrisy. The antidote to their offensive behavior is as radical as it is simple.
Psalm 49 – Denial of Death Wisdom calls for a worship song on the riddle of life and death. Psalm 49 challenges the denial of death by encouraging the poor and exposing the wealthy.