Reflections of the Psalms – 53

Posted on: May 28th, 2017

Psalm 53 is almost exactly the same as Psalm 14. The first verse reads “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’ they are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; there is no one who does good.” Unfortunately, this attitude has existed in every age, and today is no different. Too many people show. in their words, or deeds, that they do not believe in God, His Word, or His Will.

Why the hostility? Why the rejection of God’s Word? The evidence of design and order is readily apparent in nature. Spacecraft are launched to either land or make a close pass by planets, moons, and even comets that will occur years later. How can there be such precision without a designer? A comparison of the inner quality of life between a person that has fully embraced a worldly life, and a person that strives to live a Christ-centered life is really no comparison. Why do people dismiss the hope, the opportunity, for eternal life?

The answer is a refusal to obey God’s instructions. Do people want to live forever? The answer is usually YES! But, the offer has to be of their terms. People want eternal life as long as they can retain their wants, their desires, their power, and their….things.

But nothing lasts forever. Physical beauty passes quickly. Money can be lost overnight. Power and fame is fleeting. The pleasure of alcohol and drugs is brief and destructive. A passion and focus on the world ultimately leads to disappointment and death.

To acknowledge God means to recognize that each person is responsible for his/her destiny. If there is a God, then He has communicated what He expects a person to do to serve and please Him. Acceptance of God leads to personal responsibility. The evidence is there, and David’s
inspired words, toward such people were very clear and blunt, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’. They are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; there is no one who does good.”

As God’s people view growing unbelief, hostility, and immorality, there can be a feeling of dismay. The church becomes a building that is a fortress against the evils of the world. On Sunday and Wednesday, the doors “shut out” the evil in the world, and God’s children are safe for a little while. This attitude is the focus of verse 5. This verse is the one main difference between Psalm 14 and Psalm 53. Verse 5 is directed to believers. The NASV states, “There they were in great fear where no fear had been…” Another version says, “There they were overwhelmed with dread, where there was nothing to dread”.

But such a “siege” mentality has always been contrary to the will of God, and it effectively kills any evangelistic efforts. To take the Gospel to people requires Christians to go out into the world. The congregation, and worship services, growing personal relationship with other Christians is the spiritual “gas station”, or a center of operations, rather than a fortified place of refuge. Police officers would be completely ineffective if all they did was report to the Police Station and then stay there all day!

Jesus said that the “Gates of Hell shall not prevail….” The Devil and his underlings have always been on the defensive. In spite of every that the world does, the Church exists and grows. It may diminish in one place, but flourish in another. God is in control, and His plan will be fulfilled.

With the Lord, anything and everything is possible. Yet, too many Christian’s faith is not strong enough for them to do the Lord’s will. Fear of the unknown and the fear of failure are some of the most effective weapons of Satan. Christians have been frozen by dread! Yet, David knew that such dread was false. God is with His people. God will keep His promises, and God will be with all Christians that are committed to doing His will.

In verse 6 David finished his psalm by writing, “Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!” The key word is when. David KNEW that the Lord would restore the fortunes of his people. There was no reason to doubt or dread, because God had spoken and it would come true.

If David could state such words with such confidence, how much more can Christians echo such words today! God’s eternal plan has been revealed in Jesus Christ. Christians have no guesswork to deal with. The “Good News” is clear to all who will hear. Yes, there are many that say that there is no God in their words and deeds. Such people need to be influenced by caring Christians and through prayer to the Lord. Yes, when looking at the growing unbelief and godless activities of this society, it seems like no one does good. But, that does not mean that Christians need to despair.

With the Lord, the victory will be there. In fact, the war has already been won! Souls will be saved. Satan will be thrown back, and the Lord will reign.

Jim Shelburn