NO PUNCHES PULLED
Lord, I am too smart to disbelieve Your existence.
Read PSALM 14
For the director of music. Of David.
1 The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.
2 The Lord looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.
4 Do all these evildoers know nothing?
They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on the Lord.
5 But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
for God is present in the company of the righteous.
6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
but the Lord is their refuge.
7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
David paints a bleak picture of what the godless are like, but assures us that their wickedness does not go unseen. In contrast, salvation and joy await the believer!
It is hard to imagine atheists existing in David’s day. After all, archaeology has revealed the highly religious nature of the peoples of the Ancient Near East. They believed in many gods. David’s treatise on the folly of atheism has therefore less to do with philosophical debate about whether the God of Israel exists than with the practical outworking of a refusal to believe in and live for him. Such unbelief results in the moral depravity recorded in this psalm. Its message is so fundamental that it is repeated with only slight variation in Psalm 53. The apostle Paul reiterates it in Romans 3 and extends it to not only atheists but the entire human race.
David makes clear how devoid of good the godless truly are. Their wickedness manifests itself in the exploitation of the poor (6) and the persecution of God’s people (4). How relevant this is today, when Christians are increasingly reviled in the world, and the divide between rich and poor grows ever wider! What the “fool” of David’s day and the God-deniers of ours ignore is the fact that the Lord is looking down upon them (2). One day they will be filled with dread (5) when he manifests his presence among them. That occasion will bring salvation for Israel out of Zion and the restoration of the fortunes of God’s people (7).
David thus gives us a vision of the Messiah’s coming in splendor. It will be a day of reckoning, when the darkness of unbelief will be exposed in the dazzling light of God’s righteousness. The first-century Jewish philosopher Philo wrote, “He who tries to flee from God takes refuge in himself.” That refuge will surely prove flimsy on the great day of the Lord!
Reflect on why it is important that we believe in a God of righteousness and justice in today’s corrupt world. Give thanks for his grace, freely offered to repentant sinners.
Lord, keep us from falling into even a momentary posture of unbelief of any kind where You are concerned.