Nothing To Boast About
Lord Jesus, thank You that You’re able to do in and through me what I could never do by myself.
Read Psalm 14:1-7
For the director of music. Of David.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
What is your heart saying about God as you approach him in worship? Prepare yourself well for this momentous meeting.
Atheists are becoming increasingly vocal but other people just ignore God in their hearts and live as if accountable to themselves alone. That is a recipe for standards slipping remorselessly downhill (1). Lest we go to our places of worship today feeling smug, we should remember that God surveys all human hearts and finds no one good. None of us is uncorrupted by selfish desires; none of us consistently honors God as our first priority; and none of us has a lifestyle that does not harm or exploit others (2-4).
Verses 2 and 3 show that the psalmist has the Genesis stories of judgment in mind (Gen. 6:5; 11:5; 18:20,21). Then the allusions shift to Exodus: the oppression of Pharaoh and the terror of his army as they drown (4,5). But if God sees no one who is good, why are some people called “righteous” (5)? This has been an issue as we read the stories of Abraham and Lot last quarter. John Piper defines righteousness as “an unwavering allegiance to treasure and uphold the glory of God.” Starting with Abraham, God’s glory has been particularly upheld through the people he draws into a covenant with himself. Abraham believed all that God promised for the covenant community and God counted him righteous (Gen. 15:6). His faith also kept him close to God to be guided into right ways, though he had nothing to boast about. Many of his flaws remained.
Paul comments in Romans on this psalm and Abraham’s story (Rom. 3:11,12,22-26; 4:16,17). The principles are exactly the same under the new covenant. But we have the privilege of knowing that the death of Christ is the means by which God could uphold his glory yet admit sinners by faith into the company of the righteous (5).
Some Christians live as “practical atheists.” Could you be accused of that in any way? Evaluate your life and lifestyle.
Father, I come before You not in my own righteousness but in the righteousness of Christ, my Lord. I praise You that in him I have that great gift.
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