Gleanings from the Bible: Psalms 52, 57 and 65

Psalm 52: The Fool and Atheism

The fool says in his heart, There is no God.

It does not logically follow that every atheist is a fool or that all fools say there is no God. However the atheist position forms a foundational supposition on which that person’s worldview is then built. Life is analysed and ethical boundaries drawn through the lens of “There is no God.” Convinced atheists will admit that there is no meaning to life. There is no greater power who has given humans purpose. Life is an accident.

Of course atheists must then construct their own moral code and this usually arises from a utilitarian view of life. Basically they ascribe to what seems to work best for relationships and for the survival of our species. It assumes that the species is worth preserving but, because there is no overarching purpose, will easily accommodate such things as late-term abortion and euthanasia.

Because good relationships are deduced from what actually appears to work it may open up the position to the influences and whims of the majority, especially amongst unthinking atheists. Societal influences offer a strong incentive to get along with the crowd. New generations take different perspectives and it is often difficult to analyse those perspectives objectively from the inside of any generation.

Of course it may be objected that Christians take different positions on moral issues. It seems to me, though, that this largely occurs between those who hold to Scripture as God-inspired and those who do not, but who cherry-pick what they want to believe. In other words the atheist and the liberal Christian, both have moral codes, but the ultimate authority behind those positions lies within themselves.

The psalmist here links the fool, who says there is no God, who fails to seek God, with corruption. Unthinking atheists will eventually realise that if there are no consequences and no meaning to the way they live, then they might as well live for themselves (and isn’t self-interest what advertising in the media tends to promote?). Why should they live for others unless it benefits them, now. After all, there is nothing to look forward to after this life.

The psalmist also sees godless fools being overwhelmed with dread. Without God there is no refuge, no back up, no guidance. You are on your own.

The psalmist however does seek God. He calls out to him and finds strength and comfort. He delights in God’s law and follows his paths. In King David’s case, in particular, this was a known way and God had not failed him (55:16 & 22, 56:4 etc).

Psalm 57: The Chief Purpose of Humanity

I was recently challenged about my prayer life. Too much of what I pray for is related to myself and those I know. While it is important to pray for such things, I must not forget that the world needs to know about God. The Westminster Catechism asks…

     What is the chief end of man?

And answers…

     Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him for ever.

That is worth sharing. In fact Jesus’ Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 commands it! Israel’s purpose was to proclaim God’s glory, and the author of this psalm says…

      I will praise you, Lord, among the nations
I will sing of you among the peoples.

We are blessed by God in order to be a blessing to others (See Psalm 67 especially)

So I must pray more, for the nations to hear and respond to the message. To pray for people to be sent out. To pray for those who are already out there.  And to pray for opportunities to share the Good News wherever I am.

Psalm 65: Abundance

There are many examples of beautiful poetry in the Psalms. This is but one short passage that illustrates the overflowing abundance of knowing God and living in his ways…

 You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.

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