Monday, March 28

Monday, March 28

Reader: “Only fools say in their hearts,”

Response: “There is no God.”

Scripture: Psalm 53

Only fools say in their hearts,

    “There is no God.”

They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;

    not one of them does good!

God 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!

Will those who do evil never learn?

    They eat up my people like bread

    and wouldn’t think of praying to God.

Terror will grip them,

    terror like they have never known before.

God will scatter the bones of your enemies.

    You will put them to shame, for God has rejected them.

Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel?

    When God restores his people,

    Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.

Some thoughts:  

In a conversation with one of my neighbors, this person told me he did not believe there was a God. He told me that it was illogical to believe that a God created the world. In his view, there was no evidence of God, rather, the universe all happened by chance. Everything we see evolved over billions of years by random coincidence. His heartfelt conviction classified him as a fool.  

But as we read further in this psalm, we see that there is not a single one of us that does good. This is another way of saying, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) It is God’s grace that has kept us from being fools. Those who deny God are blinded and, as the Scripture here says, “will never learn.” Their judgment follows. 

(When it says that God will “scatter their bones,” it is another way of bringing shame on them for their rejection of him. (Ezek.6:5) Leaving the fallen unburied was common in battle and a way of disrespecting the enemy. The treatment of bones was significant. You’ll recall Joseph requested his bones be buried in Canaan. The Israelites kept them during their 400 years in Egypt and honored his request. Yes, a box of his bones went through the Red Sea!)

The way of the fool is the way of deception. A fool actually thinks he is wise. Satan is known as a liar, a deceiver. Eve played the fool in the Garden of Eden. And what was the serpent’s promise? You will be like God, knowing both good and evil, in other words, you will become wise like God. Your wisdom will make you just like God. Fools always have an inflated view of their own wisdom, often having disdain for anyone who would believe in God. Listen to any atheist and you will inevitably hear an egotist.  

The final sentences present a second question and an answer. Belief in God brings salvation to his people. The one who believes in God is on the path to redemption via the grace of God. My friend and neighbor has since passed from this earth. Though I prayed for him daily, I do not know if he ever abandoned the “fool” label. 

Music: “The Heavens Are Telling the Glory of God”    Beethoven  Holy Childhood Schola Cantorum

“The Heavens Are Telling the Glory of God”          from The Creation     Haydn             Robert Shaw


O Fountain of all good, destroy in me every lofty thought, break pride to pieces and scatter it to the winds, annihilate each clinging shred of self-righteousness, implant in me true lowliness of spirit, abase me to self-loathing and self-abhorrence, open in me a fount of penitential tears, break me, then bind me up; thus will my heart be a prepared dwelling for my God; then can the Father take up his abode in me, then can the blessed Jesus come with healing in his touch, then can the Holy Spirit descend in sanctifying grace; O Holy Trinity, three Persons and one God, inhabit me, a temple consecrated to thy glory. Let angels sing for sinners repenting, prodigals restored, backsliders reclaimed, Satan’s captives released, blind eyes opened, broken hearts bound up, the despondent cheered, the self-righteous stripped, the formalist driven from a refuge of lies, the ignorant enlightened, and saints built up in their holy faith. I ask great things of a great God. Amen. ―from The Valley of Vision,  p.6

Bonus: Christopher Hutchins (atheist) and John Lennox (Christian) debate.  (13:45 long I apologize for the meme insertions into the video. I could have done without them.) An atheist’s perspective and Christian viewpoint. Among other things, what do you notice about the demeanor of each man?