Today’s Psalm talks about fools. There are two types of fools in life: fools who make us laugh and the fools who are simply stupid. This psalm focuses on the latter. This psalm is almost identical to psalm 14 which had been written around 300 years earlier by David. In that psalm David spoke about how God had rescued His people from the Egyptians through the Exodus and how Moses had led them through the Red Sea out of captivity. This time He had saved his people from the Assyrians and so the psalm was rewritten. It was still a psalm of David but with a few notable changes. LORD was replaced with GOD because they wanted people to realise that this was God of all mankind and not just of His chosen people: the Israelites, who most often referred to God as Lord ( a bit more on this later).
Verses 5 and 6 in psalm 14 are made into one verse 5 in psalm 53 where we are told that God scattered the bones of the Assyrians who had attacked His people.
There are several similarities to how God saved His people from the Assyrian attack and also how he had liberated His people from slavery under the Egyptian Pharaoh. His Angel passed over in the night and killed around 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in a similar way to the Angel that passed over Egypt when all the first born children were slain unless the houses had been marked as God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites to do.
This psalm falls into the second book of psalms (42-72) and is known as an Elohistic, because it uses the word God and not Lord. The first book of psalms (1-41) is Yahwehistic because it uses Lord (Yahweh). This is important because it shows a shift in understanding by the Israelites, that God (Elohim) was the God of everybody and all creation. Also, because when in Exile they didn’t want to use God’s name: Yahweh, in a foreign land and also that the Lord was only the God of the Jews.
For reflection: Whether you speak to God or Lord do it knowing by faith that He is God of Gods and Lord of Lords. Take a moment now to try and absorb how great He is!