No God? Really?
(H) For the director of the choir, (a psalm) of David. (1) The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt. They do abominable things. There is no one who does good works. (2) Yahweh looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God. (3) They have all turned aside. Together they have become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one. (4) Have they no knowledge, all these evildoers who eat up my people like they eat bread, and do not call upon Yahweh? (5) There they are in great terror, for God is present in the company of the righteous. (6) You would frustrate the plans of the humble, but Yahweh is their shelter. (7) O that salvation for Israel would come from Zion! When Yahweh restores his captive people, let Jacob rejoice! Let Israel be glad!
In this psalm all humanity, “the sons of men” (vs. 2), is divided into two groups: those who are God’s enemies and those who are his friends. David calls those who reject God fools (vs. 1) and evildoers (vs. 4). He describes them as corrupt (vss. 1 & 3), lacking in understanding (vss. 1 & 4), and doers of nothing good (vs. 1 & 3). On the other hand, he speaks of those who seek after God (vs. 2) as my people (vs. 4), the company of the righteous (vs. 5), and the humble (vs. 6). The closing verse makes it clear that David has the best for God’s chosen people in mind as he prays for the nation’s protection and restoration after captivity (vs. 7).
NOTE: In writing his great theological treatise, the Epistle to the Romans, Paul used Psalm 14 as a key resource for his description of human depravity. Several phrases in Romans 3:10-12 are taken almost verbatim from this passage.
I. What the fool says: “There is no God.” (1)
II. What Yahweh sees: none...seek after God. (2 & 3)
III. What Yahweh will do: terrify evildoers and protect the humble (4-6)
IV. How the righteous should pray: for Israel's salvation and restoration (7)
Atheists who deny God and oppose his chosen people will one day face the terrifying prospect of God’s restoring Israel to a place of honor.
Atheism has become an attractive, trendy philosophy in our 21st Century world. The following quotation, taken from an interview with a former president of an Ivy League university, conveys the attitude of many today: “I respect adherents of all the great world religions; however, I personally am an atheist.” Though voiced by a brilliant and highly regarded academic, this declaration, in God’s eyes, is nothing but corrupt foolishness.
Our response to the atheists around us should never be fear or disdain. Rather we should regard them with concern and compassion. Though they may seem strong, defiant, and daring, they remind us how sin can blind and deceive, leaving us far from the light. Unless God in his mercy intervenes, the inevitable result of atheism is death, both physical and spiritual. Just as David prayed for the salvation of Israel, so we ought to pray for the illumination and salvation of those who remain in the darkness, refusing to acknowledge the Creator of all things.