From the morning study time of David Niednagel, Pastor and Teacher, Evansville, IN. David uses the S.O.A.P method for his morning study time (study, observe, apply, pray).
The heart of the fool
53:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity;
there is none who does good.
2 God looks down from heaven
on the children of man
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.
3 They have all fallen away;
together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.
4 Have those who work evil no knowledge,
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon God?
5 There they are, in great terror,
where there is no terror!
For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you;
you put them to shame, for God has rejected them.
6 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad. ESV
This is identical to Ps 14, except that here the word “God” is used in place of “Yahweh”. And Paul quotes it in Rom 3. It is important in understanding the nature of human beings, especially those that are called “fools”. Fools lack understanding, but they do not necessarily lack intelligence. They are often described as being unwilling to listen to counsel or learn from life’s events. Their problem is their will, not their brain. The word “fool”, like the word for “righteous” people, is used in two ways – Paul uses it to describe everyone. Everyone sins and rejects God’s ways at some point. This psalm, and many proverbs, describe those who continually live like that. Again, comparing it with the word “righteous”, no one is totally righteous. But scripture often speaks of those who do follow the way of the Lord as righteous.
The point here is that some people have “said in their heart, there is no God.”. That is their inner conviction. They have no fear of God or His Word. They do not believe He will discipline or judge them, so they live for their own will. They abuse the poor and weak with no fear. David believes God will tear them apart, and he longs for the time when “salvation would come out of Zion” – meaning when the Messiah would come and make things right on earth. David did not believe he was the Messiah, but he believed the true Messiah would judge evil and establish righteousness.
Lord, we have all foolishly chosen our own sinful ways many times, and deserve great punishment. But thank You for your merciful work of “teaching my heart to fear, and then relieving that fear” with the message of grace. I think of some people who are so blind and bitter and such fools, continually running from You and even actively defying You. My own father was like that, and I have other friends now who fit that description. Oh God, my prayer for them is what Paul wrote in 2 Tim 2:24-25 “Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.” Lord, shine Your truth in their hearts. Set them free and drag them back to You. Help me be aware when I foolishly follow my own rebellions desires. Your ways are so much better – Light and Life and Truth, and Satisfaction! Amen