Psalm 53 follows naturally on from Psalm 52. “There is no God”, says the fool, as if this fool is the same mighty man described in the opening of Psalm 52. This fool is corrupt and David describes that “there is none who does good“. David’s conclusion is sombre – God wishes to see if any of the children of men would understand and seek after Him; but they have all fallen away, together they have become corrupt. V.3 is his analysis of men: “[t]hey have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”
This grim analysis undoubtedly includes himself.
Then David addresses the Anointed One, He who is the promised seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15, and who is the only one who is able to understand and who seeks after God (v.2). God the Father will scatter the bones of him who encamps against Jesus (v.5). It is therefore not by man’s hands, but by Jesus the God-man, who will restore the fortunes of his people (v.6). As Charles Spurgeon comments on this Psalm in his Treasury of David:
“David sees the end of the ungodly, and the ultimate triumph of the spiritual seed. The rebellious march in fury against the gracious, but suddenly they are seized with a causeless panic. The once fearless boasters tremble like the leaves of the aspen, frightened at their own shadows. In this sentence and this verse, this Psalm differs much from the fourteenth. It is evidently expressive of a higher state of realisation in the poet, he emphasises the truth by stronger expressions. Without cause the wicked are alarmed. He who denies God is at bottom a coward, and in his infidelity he is like the boy in the churchyard who “whistles to keep his courage up.” For God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee. When the wicked see the destruction of their fellows they may well quail. Mighty were the hosts which besieged Zion, but they were defeated, and their unburied carcasses proved the prowess of the God whose being they dared to deny. Thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them. God’s people may well look with derision upon their enemies since they are the objects of divine contempt. They scoff at us, but we may with far greater reason laugh them to scorn, because the Lord our God considers them as less than nothing and vanity.”
For who is good? Jesus answered the ruler in Luke 18, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone“. Here, David looks to the Son who is good, just like his Father, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.