Psalm 53: Rinse and Repeat
“Do it again, do it again,” small children say over and over again when engaged in a favorite activity. One push on a swing is never enough. You have to keep pushing till you drop from exhaustion. It isn’t enough to read a favorite book once. It has to be read multiple times till you and the child have both memorized the content. The same may be said for the Psalms. They need to be read over and over again. And so Psalm 53 is a repeat of Psalm 14.
Rinse and Repeat
Rinse and repeat, we are told on shampoo bottles. This is necessary to remove all the dirt and oil in your hair. It is only once that is removed that you see the full benefit of the shampoo. Of course, the instructions don’t tell you when to stop. If you keep on rinsing and repeating, you can stay in the shower all morning until you have used up your shampoo! In urban slang, it has become a humorous way of saying that certain instructions should be repeated until your goal is reached, or to poke fun at people who follow instructions literally without common sense.
As we enter a new year, 2019, perhaps it’s a good idea to rinse and repeat, look back at this psalm and repeat it. I’m also aware that I’m a little over a third of the way through the Psalms. One year into the journey. A nice time to stop and reflect on where I’ve been, and where I’m going.
Psalm 53 is basically Psalm 14 with some small differences. As I look at the multiple files I have on my computer of the same manuscript and discover all of the small changes and differences, I’m amazed how, without the assistance of technology, with hand-written manuscripts being copied over and over, the two remain as close as they are.
They were part of two separate collections of psalms. For some reason when the two were combined, they left these psalms as separate entities rather than combine them into one. They both speak of those who say there is no God. Perhaps worse than this are those who live their life as if there is no God. They may profess belief in God, but their actions speak louder than their words. Their actions proclaim their lack of belief!
As I wrote in my reflections on Psalm 14, Psalm 14 and 53 speak against this type of atheism, practical atheism. “They are a treatise on a certain kind of atheism, practical atheism which rejects God and belief in practice, if not in theory, and used this as an excuse to be unkind, even evil. Outright disbelief in God was not common at all during this time, but there were those who lived their lives as if God did not exist.”
As we enter a new year, I find it appropriate to reflect on the foolishness of those who profess belief in God, yet that belief makes no difference in their life. Years ago, while a senior in high school, I made the choice to believe in a God of love. This is well worth repeating, over and over again. That choice has made and continues to make all of the difference in my life. My life has been changed by my choice to believe. May yours be changed as well.
May are words and our actions always proclaim our belief in a God of unlimited, boundless love and compassion! Happy New Year!
This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and and receive a free copy of Still Dancing, the second book in my Dancing through Life Series. click here to sign up
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