The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (Ps 53:1a)
Very often we associate this verse with unbelievers, those who openly and verbally deny the existence of God. The verse however, speaks of those who deny God not so much with their words but within their hearts and subsequently, with their actions. The fool then, is not only one who articulates a verbal denial of God but he who does so in his heart – possibly only revealing it through his actions. His actions betray the position and attitude of his heart.
They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. (Ps 53:1b)
It is this attitude of heart that disposes him to indulge in evil – unhindered and without fear of reprisal or consequence. For if he did, deep in his heart, acknowledge the existence and scrutiny of God, the fear of Him would act as a deterrent to halt him from his sinful acts.
In fact, it can be said that even those who make a public profession of faith in God, de facto, albeit temporarily, suspend their belief in Him and His existence when they indulge in deliberate and calculated (often habitual) acts of sin. For doing so is a denial of Him who is and is watching when no one else is. It is as if He isn’t there, as if He is not God omnipresent, as if He did not exist for that particular moment in time. Nonchalantly and intentionally walking into sin is a denial of God’s person, His nature, who He is and what He stands for as if He is nothing, doesn’t exist or is unimportant. It is denying that He is watching, that He is judging and He calls everyone to account.
The bible calls this denial God and refusal to acknowledge Him for who He is in our actions, foolishness – be it temporary or otherwise. Our actions demonstrate and reveal the true state and attitude of our hearts towards God and His reality to us. When we knowingly and in a calculating manner indulge in evil and sin, we are effectively denying God through our actions (even though our tongue may not confess it) and taking up the position of a fool. We may be led to think that we are simply gratifying our “natural” desires but our position remains unchanged – that of a fool.
The fool’s heart is exposed for its foolhardiness not through verbal confessions or public announcements that he makes but through his actions and deeds.
There is a marked absence of a holy fear, a healthy and wholesome regard for God and His person, a respect for who He is. God is absent in their calculation and reckoning choosing to forget that there will, one day, come a day of reckoning when each one of us will have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:10). It is as if God does not look down (vs 2) and there is none who holds people to account for their actions, as if our actions attract no recompense, no payback.
God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. (Ps 53:2)
Without this holy fear of the Lord, without the respect and regard due to Him, we end up excusing, accommodating and entertaining every shade of corruption and sin within us gradually displacing all that is good, wholesome and beneficial. Eliminating (temporarily or otherwise) this factoring in of God for who He is and disregarding Him in our actions will eventually result in a downward spiral of moral standard in our lives. The lack of the presence of God in one’s heart causes moral decay and gives rise to the development of corruption. In turn the corruption within leads to abominable acts, which are repulsive and abhorrent and the expulsion from within us of all that is good.
They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. (Ps 53:3)
Corrupt deeds, vile acts and the absence of good exposes the heart of the fool for what it is and not so much his words. It is a heart that has denied and rejected the concept and reality of God or suspended it temporarily. Calculated and deliberate sin is an indirect but inward denial of God and constitutes foolishness. It is an inner denial and rejection of God when one who professes to know God ventures into deliberate and intentional wrongdoing. God is markedly absent in the minds and hearts of such people (vs 4 …do not call upon God). There is a lack of an acknowledgement of God in their heart and subsequently, their actions too. It is utterly foolhardy and its consequences are disastrous – such in turn will be rejected by God (vs 5). Indulging in deliberate and calculated wrongdoing is an effective rejection of God and an undermining of His existence. He is being blotted out from one’s radar and declared a nonentity. Such consistent disregard and effective denial of God through our actions will eventually result in His rejection of us – vs. 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.
Those who seek after God are the ones who act in wisdom – verse 2 – even though such could not be found among men for all are sinners and fall short of the glory of God. That is why they are fools – by not seeking God we have effectively rejected to act in wisdom. In Proverbs 9:10 the bible calls this wisdom “the fear of God” – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
On the contrary, not seeking after God, denying Him in practise through a blatant and flagrant disregard of Him, His laws and the fact that He calls each one of us to account for our works regardless of whether we verbally acknowledge Him or not, is plain foolishness.
It is a lack of wisdom and plain foolishness to disregard God in any of our actions while seeking after Him is indeed wisdom.
God is proactively seeking, “looking down from heaven” to find wisdom expressed in humans seeking Him (Ps 53:2) albeit in vain and frequently without success. But look He does and He does it quite well too. God’s eyes are trained upon the human race, not one single creature is hidden from His sight. Acting and behaving as if they are not and that we will not be called upon to give account is foolishness.
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13)
God’s looking down from heaven (vs 2) is a theme that is also explored in 2 Chronicles 16:9 albeit in a slightly differing context – For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him…” God is always on the lookout for those whose hearts are right towards Him, who factor in and acknowledge Him deep within them and for whom He and His views have become an important factor in their lives and actions. These He
Is God adequately acknowledged in your thoughts, actions and decision making process? What role does God, if at all, play in our critical decision making processes on a daily basis? Do you factor Him in when you embark on a course of action or a change of direction in your life?
If not we are acting like the fool who in his heart says, “There is no God!” most definitely leading to our corruption and absence of good within us, a falling from God’s standard and expectation. It is no good crying, “Lord, Lord!” when our actions betray the position of our hearts towards Him – rejection and effective denial. His lordship is first and foremost, primarily expressed in our hearts from whence our actions will naturally and effortlessly flow. Luke 6:45 –
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
It is then in our hearts that we need to primarily nurture and uphold the lordship and primacy of God – 1 Peter 3:15 …but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy…
Every single day.