FOOLS SAY THERE IS NO GOD
Key Verse: “But no, all have turned away: all have become corrupt. NO ONE DOES GOOD; not a single one.” (v.3)
Key Theme: The absence of GOOD
Key Descriptives of God: God who is Present(v.5);Rescuer; Restorer(v.6)
Psalm 14, is quite a baffling chapter in some ways. As many of you may have figured out, I don’t just follow one translation of the Bible. I read several and then have the Holy Spirit instruct me out of that search. When you understand the nature of the translation process you realize why no one source gets it all right. Their own veil on the meta-narrative will have them choose which of the five or so optional definitions they think best. One only has to look at the various translations of Psalm 14 to be able to see that there is a good bit of head-scratching at what exactly is David trying to say. He starts out in verse 1, “Only fools say in their hearts, There is no God.” That seems obvious. The word “fools” comes from a root word meaning “to wither.” Does a withered heart cause one to become a fool? Or does being a fool make your heart wither? Perhaps a bit of “who came first the chicken or the egg”? Either way, it is foolish to be a fool. If we see this Psalm 14 in the light of the previous Psalm 13 we talked about yesterday, we can deduce that if you don’t secure the truth that God is Good, it will lead to your heart withering to such a place you can’t see God at all. An atheistic fool kills his own heart.
David, however, proceeds from this place to speaking of the total absence of goodness in ANYONE. Just when you thought he was going to bash these atheistic fools he says,
“The Lord looks down from heaven ON THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE; He looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, ALL HAVE TURNED AWAY; ALL HAVE BECOME CORRUPT. NO ONE DOES GOOD; NOT A SINGLE ONE!”
Wow, what an encouraging observation, huh? What’s the difference between a “fool” and “the entire human race”? Why not just be a “fool”? Well, obviously this is first a foundational chapter laying out the premise for the need of Jesus. Paul essentially quotes the chapter in Romans 3. There and in what follows he Paul of our requirement for a Redeemer who alone is truly GOOD and that through Him we are imputed righteousness as we have faith in Him and His atoning work on the cross. This is the great reveal from this Psalm. But now to a second nuance.
NO ONE DOES GOOD?
Though we have verse three telling us NO ONE DOES GOOD and that David has categorized us all together in that mix, verses 4 and 5 make a clear distinction between “evildoers” (v.4) and “the righteous” (also translated “those who obey Him”)(v.5). A significant insight for me came from looking up the word GOOD because somehow “the righteous” and “those who obey Him” were not qualified doers of GOOD. I found out that the Hebrew word used for GOOD was the same word used in Genesis 1 when God looked back over what He had created and it says “and God saw that is was GOOD.” Over and over He did this. The definition of this word GOOD is “pleasant, delightful, joyful, good, cheer” as well as “used of an agreeable pleasant smell.” I then understood why “the righteous” and even “those who obey” are not up to par with the GOOD-ness of God. His GOOD is full of various definitions of pleasantness and joy and then He has an “agreeable pleasant smell” as well. What a lesson for us to extract from today’s reading. We know that here in the New Testament age we have Jesus inside us and empowerment of the Holy Spirit that gives us a reality that David did not have. We can be Christ-like and have the fruit of the Holy Spirit only because both indwell in us. We can showcase the kind of GOOD that only comes from God. “As He is so are we in this world”.(1 Jn.4:17)
BE OF GOOD CHEER IT IS I!
If you do the search it is amazing how many times Jesus used the word GOOD in the New Testament. It is woven in His language scores of times. In Mt.9:2 when He heals the paralytic He says, “Son be of GOOD CHEER, your sins are forgiven.” Mt. 9:22 when He healed the woman with an issue of blood, He said, “Be of GOOD CHEER daughter your faith has made you whole.” In Mt. 14:27, when He was walking on the water and scared His disciples beyond measure, Jesus said, “Be of GOOD CHEER it is I.” In Acts 10:38 after Pentecost, when Peter was preaching as to who Jesus was, he said, “Jesus went about DOING GOOD and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.” Note there that He “did good” AND He healed. The healing didn’t sum up His GOOD-ness, it accompanied His GOOD-ness. “Be of GOOD CHEER” over and over as He does His miracles, and then the best, “Be of GOOD CHEER it is I!” Wow, to be able to say that.
Is this maybe the rarest of rare realities on earth that we are to display AS we “obey” and AS we are “the righteous”? Is the sparkle in His eyes, the pleasant, delightful spirit He carried, and the agreeable, pleasant “smell of Jesus” what the world right now in 2020, in the midst of all the challenges, needs most? Wouldn’t it be awesome to carry so much of Jesus that we could show up in places and say, “Hey be of good cheer- it’s me”? This is the opposite of having the “withered hearts” of fools who say there is no God. Maybe the “watering of hearts” with who God is, is what the world need’s most? Maybe even “fools” will reconsider. Maybe in order to have that to give, it is what WE need most. I believe this 67-day journey of focusing on His face shining upon us is doing just that. How it touches our God that we would choose to do so in the face of so many other distractions/crises begging for our attention. Today hear Him say, “Be of GOOD CHEER it is I!” Even before He takes care of your “issue” and our national “storm”, He who is the source of all GOOD and all GOOD NEWS, is bringing us Heaven’s fragrance and demeanor and saying “Be of good cheer it is I”. I am “PRESENT in the company of the righteous” (v.5). This is how He begins to be Rescuer and how He begins to be Restorer (v.6) and we can join in with the last line of the chapter. “Let Jacob REJOICE and Israel BE GLAD!” He is with us, He is with us, He is with us.
Written by: Johnny Enlow
67 DAY COUNTDOWN SERIES
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The 67 Day Countdown Series is brought to you by Johnny and Elizabeth Enlow, founders of Restore7 ministry, as well as international speakers and best-selling authors. Among Johnny’s books are The Seven Mountain Prophecy, The Seven Mountain Mantle, Rainbow God, The Seven Mountain Renaissance, Becoming A Superhero, and RISE. Elizabeth serves as CEO and penned Rainbow God: The Seven Colors of Love and God in Every Season.