Creator, Sustainer, Lord, You are the air that I breathe and the ground that I stand on. You are my joy and my hope.
Read Psalm 14:1-7
For the director of music. Of David.
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The real attitude of sin in the heart towards God is that of being without God; it is pride, the worship of myself, that is the great atheistic fact in human life” (Oswald Chambers).
Duplicated in Psalm 53, this psalm is about atheism in its most insidious form. This is not the sort of atheism that genuinely wrestles with tough questions about a God who appears to permit suffering, natural disasters or biblical genocide. This is a quiet, unobtrusive atheism that doesn’t call attention to itself but nonetheless shapes the thinking, attitudes and actions of those who possess it. The conclusion that “there is no God” (1) means that potentially the self becomes both immediate and ultimate reality. According to Eugene Peterson, narcissism has no room for God; it does not recognize the truth that “we need God under our feet and in our lungs. We need Creator and creatures and community. God is the great continent of reality on which we live.”
Denying God’s existence and enthroning self affects relationships with others. People are seen as being there to meet our needs, to be used and treated as consumer goods (4). In workplaces, families and neighborhoods it is all too easy to manipulate or control others to help ourselves along the way. Tragically, we can even affirm our belief in God while in our hearts something different is going on which spills over into the way we treat others. The psalmist focuses upon those who are poor as being particularly vulnerable to being on the receiving end of this (6). Their powerlessness leaves them wide open to being dismissed as inferior and treated accordingly.
All is not lost, however. God sees all (2) and continues to look for those who will respond to him. God rescues those who are oppressed by others who are dismissive of his existence. They can find refuge and hope in him (6). The big-picture prayer at the end (7) anticipates the end of all such oppression and the coming of salvation and celebration.
Pray that multinational companies across the world will conduct their business with integrity and generosity, that they may be influences for good and deal justly with indigenous peoples.
Holy Spirit of God, help me to live an honest life, centered out of what is real. Help me to speak of You as being all, and to live a life that reveals it to be my true conviction.