Psalm 14 — Don’t Be Foolish — Reading the Psalms


For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
They are corrupt, they have done abominable works;
there is none that doeth good.
2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there were any that did understand,
That did seek after God.
3 They are all gone aside; they are together become filthy;
There is none that doeth good, no, not one.
4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge?
Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
And call not upon the LORD.
5 There were they in great fear:
For God is in the generation of the righteous.
6 Ye put to shame the counsel of the poor,
Because the LORD is his refuge.
7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion!
When the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people,
Then shall Jacob rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

There is a lot of conflict back and forth in this psalm. Even the opening line about the Fool is conflict between the author and those he condemns. These condemned ones are in conflict with God and his followers. God himself is in conflict with what he sees on earth: are there any who understand, who seek after God? Where do you stand in all this?

If you’re listening to a podcast about Biblical poetry, most likely you are not one to make himself a fool by thinking there is no God. Yet, what else do the fools do? How close do we come to their failure?

The fools are corrupted with abominable works, failing to do the good things in life. This is an evil plain enough, surely none of us would do such a thing. Yet, what do the next lines say? The fool neither understands nor seeks after God, thus they go aside. This is where we must be careful.

I try to read and meditate on God’s word. I try to understand his heart and will. Yet I am afraid to say, “I understand God,” or “I’ve learned what God is.” There is a dangerous hubris and pride in statements like these.

Maybe it’s the second part of the line that helps: to seek after God. All our understanding and knowledge of God will lead us to seek after God more and more. Those who found enough God in their lives, who’ve fill up with all the understanding they require, and thus have no need to seek after the Lord, are indeed fools, just like those who think there is no God at all. For they have made themselves as smart and knowledgeable as God. INdeed, when we make ourselves God, it’s just the same as saying there is no God.

When God comes in his power and salvation, what will he find on earth? What will he find in you? Will he find you seeking him or not?


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