foolSo far, most of the psalms we have read up to this point have been written by David – and appear to be cries of mercy to God for the evil-doers around him.  Unfortunately, as we have read in the past, David brought most of his calamity upon himself due to his sin – but one cannot help to still feel a hint of empathy for him in his sorrowful songs.  Yet, in the midst of the mercy topic – Psalm 14 stands out on its own.  Also written by David – this Psalm charges out of the gate with a bang:

“The [empty-headed] fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable deeds; there is none that does good or right.” – Ps 14:1 AMP

The word for “fool” is nabal and it literally means “a stupid, wicked, vile person”.  (Talk about shooting straight from the hip)!  David comes right out and declares in the opening line that the individual who claims God does not exist is stupid – of little intelligence – an idiot.  This is the exact opposite of how our world currently defines this type of individual.

David continues on by describing God as bending low to examine the earth – looking for anyone who seeks Him out with a pure heart, of which the Psalmist laments that none can be found by God in His search.

As we read through the Bible – you will find this exact phrase repeated twice more.  The first is in Psalm 53 – which is almost an identical copy of Psalm 14.  The other is in Rom 3:10-12; where a portion of this psalm is quoted.  These two references do much to shed light into what David is saying in Psalm 14 as well.

First, let’s deal with Psalm 53.  While at casual glance, these two psalms appear identical – there are a few differences.  One major difference is the use of the word for “God”.  While in Psalm 53 the word for God is “elohim” – and describes the righteous correction of God in more general terms… in todays Psalm 14 the word used for God (or LORD) is “Yahweh” and is speaking of a more personal relationship level.  It is here that David speaks of the “fool” going further and oppressing the poor – and his use of “Yahweh” points to this “fool” being one who claims to know God – yet really does not by the actions.

This leads us right into Paul’s use of portions of these psalms in Rom 3:10-12.  Here Paul is speaking of the universal problem of sin and how no one is clean before the Lord in their own merit.  He quotes portions of these psalms to connect the issue of the “fool” (both generally and personally) to all of us.  The Truth that we are ALL unable to escape the trappings of sin without the assistance of a Savior is made quite clear by Paul in Romans 3.

When we read of the “fool” in Psalm 14 – it is quite easy to become Pharisaical in our position.  We naturally take the position that “those are the fools” and we look down on them in judgment.  Yet, as Paul points out, we are all “fools” in this sense – until we accept the sacrifice of Jesus and become born again.  Even then (as Psalm 14 says) our actions dictate the revelation in our hearts…  either oppressing the poor as a fool – or living out what we believe.

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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