Reading: Psalm 53
For the director of music. According to mahalath. A maskil of David.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
there is no one who does good.
God looks down from heaven on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good, not even one.
Do all these evildoers know nothing?
They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on God.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
where there was nothing to dread.
God scattered the bones of those who attacked you;
you put them to shame, for God despised them.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad! (NIV).*
There is something very fresh and current about Psalm 53. Though David penned this psalm in about 1000 BC, he is describing today’s world. The fools of the world in the twenty-first century are still busy spouting their lies. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
The fool, using the logic of a fool, observes that there is no God. But it is God’s observations about mankind that strike me as being more accurate: They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
When God is taken out of the picture, corruption runs rampant, and no set of laws or regulations will change that. The problem is not laws or regulations; the problem is the state of a person’s heart. Without the love and fear of God, restraint is cast off and everyone does what is right in their own eyes. See Judges 21:25.
You see the fool doesn’t stop at claiming there is no God. He takes matters to the next logical step. In the absence of God, he asserts that he is god. He is the master of his own domain and not accountable to anyone but himself. This quickly leads to moral rot of the worst kind, since the devious mind of man can self-justify even the most heinous crimes. On a personal level it’s a rot that we must all guard against. None of us can claim moral perfection. When we do, we turn God into a liar.
Response: LORD God of heaven and earth. I bow my knees before you. Grant me a pure heart so that I can see you at work all around me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Your Turn: Do believers deny the existence of God when they willfully engage in corrupt behavior? Are we acting as though God doesn’t exist when we disregard his commands?
* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA
Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.