Psalm 53 is almost identical to Psalm 14 with the exception of a few of the latter verses. Perhaps like our modern hymnals (is that an oxymoron?) where we list the same song to two different melodies, this psalm is sung “according to mahalath” or a different tune. Or maybe the psalmist decided like some of our contemporary artists to bring up an oldie but a goodie and add a few new lyrics.
The targets addressed in psalm 53 are the atheists, the arrogant, and the antagonists of God’s people. All three had no fear of God… until God shows up at judgment day. Then “they are in great fear, where no fear was.” On the other hand, the people who believe in God, who recognize and repent of their sins, who are not antagonistic against God or His people, can rejoice and be glad (verse 6).
At times, we believers are no better than the fools who don’t believe, as far as sins go. Paul would later use this verse and show that all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23).
Like the arrogant, we need to remember we have all sinned. Our sin and rebellion against God is not new, seen also in Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned, every one, to his own way…” But Isaiah doesn’t end there. “And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
And sometimes we Christians are no better than that antagonists who devour the believers. Galatians 5:15 was written as a warning to Christians, “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!”
Some messages need to be repeated and obviously this psalm does as well.