Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Because of Doeg’s malicious and false insinuation to a paranoid king, the entire city of Nob—“both men and women, children and nursing infants, oxen and donkeys and sheep”—was so completely destroyed that only one man, Abiathar, survived (1 Samuel 22:19-20). Doeg’s treacherous tongue resulted in David telling Abiathar, “I have caused the death of all the persons of your father’s house” (1 Samuel 22:22). What a massive load of guilt and heartache came crashing down upon David as a result of Doeg’s betrayal.
Psalm 52 details David’s reflection on this holocaust; it also provides insightful wisdom into how to deal with the aftermath of another’s treachery.
- Identify the evil that has been done. “Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures. Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking righteousness. You love all devouring words, you deceitful tongue” (vv. 1-4).
- Reflect upon the judgment that will occur. “God shall likewise destroy you forever; He shall take you away and pluck you out of your dwelling place and uproot you from the land of the living” (v. 5).
- Remember the folly that wickedness always has. “The righteous also shall see and fear and shall laugh at him, saying, ‘Here is the man who did not make God his strength but trusted in the abundance of his riches and strengthened himself in his wickedness’” (vv. 6-7).
- Determine to remain faithful to God. “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. I will praise You forever, because You have done it; and in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good” (vv. 8-9).
Overcoming evil with good is not easy, but it is possible.