Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Psalm 53

Psalm 53

For the director of music. According to mahalath. A maskil of David.
1 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.

2 God looks down from heaven
on the sons of men
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.

3 Everyone has turned away,
they have together become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.

4 Will the evildoers never learn—
those who devour my people as men eat bread
and who do not call on God?

5 There they were, 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.

6 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

This psalm is almost a repeat of Psalm 14, except for verse 5. Spurgeon comments, 'Holy writ never repeat itself needlessly, there is a good cayse for a second copy of this psalm; let us read it with more profound attention than before. If our age has advanced from 14 to 53, we shall find the doctrine of this psalm more evident than in our youth'.

We must never allow ourselves to be intimidated by atheists who despise us and scoff at the message of the gospel. They are fools! - The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God. (1)". The Hebrew word for "fool" ("nabal - compare with 1 Samuel 25:25) implies stubbornness of heart rather than lack of intelligence. Notice that the words "there is" are in italics in your bible. This means that they are not in the Hebrew in the original manuscript.

The fool has said in his heart, "No God." - He refuses to acknowledge God. Anyone who professes himseld to be an atheist is a fool! It is possible to pay lip-service to God's existence, but to live as if he didn't exist (practical astheism). That is also folly! If you ever enter discussion with an atheist, you will generally find that his atheistic beliefs, however follish (eg. The theory of evolution). The apostle Paul said of such people, Their follish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:21-22).

Why is the world in such a mess? Surely it is because most people are athists or live like atheists (as if God didn't exist) and atheism breeds corruption and wickedness (1-4). God looks down from heaven and sees the corruption in the world. Everyone has sinned (2-3; compare Romans 3:10-12). If sinners call on God, they have no need to fear, but will find mercy (4-5). The Lord is for us and will destroy our enemies (5). Let us be encouraged, but never smug. The wickedness of the people drove David to pray for their salvation (6). In these evil days, let us not despair, but get down to urgent prayer!

[Nelson, Thomas 1982, Pilgrim Bible Notes, Thomas Nelson Inc, Nashville.]