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  • Psalm Fifty Two

    Written by David when Doeg the Edomite betrayed him to Saul.

    Why are you bragging about your betrayal, Doeg?
    My God is protecting me, and He is seeing all you do.
    Your tongue condemns you to the earth,
    your lies will be found out soon enough.
    You love to do evil things more than the things of God,
    you love lying and rumors more than righteousness.
    Think on this.

    Because you love lies and deceits,
    the Lord will destroy you and all your family.
    He will come and take you and your family from your home.
    He will throw you into the fires of hell for your betrayal.
    All men will forget you ever existed.
    Think on this.

    We who love the Lord will watch this happen,
    and we will laugh at you for your arrogance.
    We will tell our children, see what happens to those who hate God,
    for God has stripped him of his authority, of his wealth,
    he has no strength, only his weakness and evil ways.
    He will forever remain apart from God.

    But we who love God, we will flourish and grow,
    we will praise God for his mercy and his loving kindness,
    we will trust in His salvation and wait upon his pleasure.
    For He is our God, and we will praise him for his blessings and his might.

    I think I was about eight when my dad first pointed out winos. This was 1961, we were still living in Great Lakes, Illinois, and my dad was stationed at the Naval Training Center. He and I were in the car, going to the base exchange to pick up some odds and ends, and since we lived off base, we had to drive through Waukegan to get to the base.

    Waukegan was not a bad place, but on the outskirts of town as you drove in, you passed a neighborhood where the homes weren't well taken care of, and there were always a few men dressed in dirty clothes lying around. Sometimes you would see them panhandling with a cup, asking passersby for change, sometimes they were fighting, sometimes there was a group of them gathered around a trash can or an oil barrel with a fire in it trying to stay warm. Sometimes, one or two of them had a brown paper bag with a bottle inside. Sometimes they were passing it around. Sometimes they were drinking alone.

    I asked my dad about them. He told me they were men who let their habits overtake their thinking. They were alcoholics who no longer cared about anything more than their next drink. When I asked why, all he could say is they thought the drinking was more important than living.

    I've grown up a bit since then. I realize that homelessness is a far greater problem than simply declaring it the result of addictions and mental illness. But I also believe there are bums on the street who simply gave up, men and women who walked away from good lives to pursue their addictions, people who walked away from loving families because the drug or the booze was more important.

    Doeg has a different addiction, an addiction to power and wealth. He knew Saul would reward him with prestige and gold for betraying David. But he also knew David was under the protection of God. Doeg knew better than to go against God, but he did it anyway. He allowed his addiction to earthly pleasures to guide him instead of praying for strength to resist temptation.

    Addiction is a powerful thing. Ask Ray, ask me, ask any member of AA or NA. Real addiction never lets you go. You have to fight it everyday, because you know what will happen if you don't. "One day at a time." is the only motto a recovering addict can rely on.

    You have to wake up every morning and want to live. When you stop doing that, you're already dead.

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