In Psalm 52 we see a compare and contrast between wickedness and righteousness. It is easy for us to see this as a condemnation and judgment from David towards the wicked. However, if we remove emotion from it (which leads to judgment), we can see it is simply a statement of facts.
Have you ever been involved in or overheard a conversation between believers about how horribly they sinned in the past? I’m not talking about a testimony of salvation, rather a comparison of how badly we sinned in the past. It’s almost like a competition to see who was the worst. While this could certainly be a testimony to the greatness of God’s grace, I have rarely seen the conversation end that way. It’s usually a boasting session about our sins. In verse 1, David exhorts the hearer to boast in God’s lovingkindness, not sinfulness. Whether we are currently in that sin or it is sin of the past from which we have been rescued by God’s grace, we should instead focus on righteousness. Paul writes in Philippians 4:
Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things
Yet when we focus on sinfulness, it is like a trap from which we cannot escape. We unconsciously lie to hide our sin. We begin to devise plans to aid us in our sinfulness. We begin to love sin and pay no mind to righteousness. However, in His mercy, God will reveal our sin so we cannot hide in it any longer. He will destroy the house of cards we construct to preserve our sinfulness and tear its destruction out from the roots. Yes, this is mercy! This is God’s lovingkindness. He knows that our sinfulness destroys us and others. It tears us apart from Him and brings us to ruin. We were created for so much more than that!
When we seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness, we will be in a safe place. From the perspective of living in righteousness, we can see the foolishness of sin. When we are in our sin, it is pleasing and we don’t ever want to give it up. However when we fear the Lord and live in communion with Him, we will see our own foolishness. How could we ever thing that was the best way to live? Trusting in God’s lovingkindness is the best way to live because there we are able to flourish into abundance. Trusting in our own riches and own strength is foolish because it is never enough and it will not last!
It is for this reason we worship God. Because not only does He help us out of our sin, but He brings us into His house to live forever the way He created us to live.