Back in Psalms, recently came across this short psalm of David highlighting the corrupt, foolish nature of man. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. In biblical terms, a fool is not simply an ignorant or stupid person. “Fool” is often the word used to describe someone who rejects God and chooses evil. “A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.” Proverbs 13:19 ESV. The fool is one who chooses evil over God. They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. There are plenty of atheists who would argue this point. In fact, I would guess that most people who take the trouble to define themselves as atheists would argue this point. They would argue the definition of “abominable”, they would argue what is good and what isn’t. One of their mantras I’ve heard is “Atheists do good for goodness sake!”
One problem with this is – how does an atheist define “good”? What scale of good verses evil do they use.b It’s funny, no matter the society, period in history, or social background, groups of people nearly always come up with the same central “core values.” Don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t commit adultery. Even atheists will come up with a core list surprisingly close to the Ten Commandments. It’s how we are wired to relate to one another, how we are pre disposed by our creator to successfully survive in the world He’s given us. Atheists would have to deny this, and as my pastor has been telling us for a couple of months ago, their system of right and wrong comes down to “…Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25
Atheists will say that our universe came from nothing, exists for nothing, and is just a happy accident from a blob of nothing which appeared from nothing and “evolved” from that nothing into all that we can empirically see yet not understand in the world around us. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. We see life all around us, from the depths of the ocean to the skies above to the highest mountains. We see the similarities measured in our genetic code and attribute it to the evolution we’ve decided is the root cause of it all, not seeing it instead as evidence of the great engineer who put it all together. Think about this. Our closest genetic “relative” is the chimpanzee, and we know our genetic code varies by only 1.6%. Not getting numbers here, but what does that mean? What does 1.6% get us that the chimpanzee doesn’t have?
Agriculture and industry. With 1.6% we have Homer, Dante, and Shakespeare. Dickens, Dickinson and Poe. For 1.6%, we have Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Picasso. For 1.6% I’ll be in Baltimore at 9 am and California at 6 PM tomorrow. For 1.6% I’m on my couch at 5:37, be in DC by 8 then all day, back on my couch eating dinner cooked in my grill, watching an Olympic Games 3000 miles away live on a screen hanging on my wall, texting (if I want) friends miles away during the whole thing. For 1.6% Neil Armstrong walked on the moon nearly 50 years ago. For 1.6% skyscrapers are being built worldwide right now. For 1.6% we have Mustang, Camaro, Lamborghini and Ferrari. That’s quite a 1.6%. Guess we should leave the chimpanzee alone, he should make up that 1.6in no time.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. We are lucky enough to know that God didn’t just stay up in heaven looking down at His creation. He came down in the form of His own Son, Jesus Christ, walking among us, to personally call each of us to Himself.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. This is as true today as ever, but I do think God has been able to find those in history who have “done good”. Noah, Job, Abraham, Moses. But all those, except Jesus of Nazareth, have fallen short of His standard of perfection – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23 ESV. No matter how hard we try, how “good” we are, we can’t be good enough.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord? To eat up His people is oppress them, to hold others down. We all eat bread, Jesus said “I am the bread of life.” John 6:48 ESV. Funny thing about bread is that bread is universal. Every culture, on every continent, in every nation, town and village, eats bread. Just as bread is universally available, so is Christ.
There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. You would shame the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge. God has always taken a direct interest in the welfare of the poor. From the Law of Moses through the Revelation in Christ, there are always references to, and provisions made for, the poor among us. Whether it is laws regarding leaving some of the harvest around the edge of the field for those less fortunate to come behind and pick up, or Jesus telling us to simply give without fanfare to the poorest among us – “”Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” Matthew 6:2 ESV, there is no question we are to look out for those behind us.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad. Zion, God’s dwelling place here on earth. In the Old Testament it referred to both the city of Jerusalem, and or the mountain on which God’s temple stood. It is the place where God’s mercies were originally shown, as they are now shown by His church (at least we hope!). We know that salvation came out of Zion, through the Messiah killed on a Roman cross in the city of David. We all fall short and are counted as sinners, in an eternal state of damnation. It was only through Jesus’ work on that cross, the free grace offered to all, that our fortunes were restored. So Jacob rejoices, Israel is glad. And there’s a party in Heaven for every sinner saved through faith in Jesus Christ!!
“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord? There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. You would shame the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge. Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.”
Psalms 14:1-7 ESV