Psalms 53: Understanding God Is There
David was not necessarily kind to those who ignore God as an excuse to continue doing what was wrong. Psalms 53 basically explains that these people are in voluntary denial.
Psa 53:1 To the chief Musician upon Mahalath, Maschil, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
Psa 53:2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
Psa 53:3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Psa 53:4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.
Psa 53:5 There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.
Psa 53:6 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.
I felt that it was better to copy the entire chapter since it was so short, and it all kind of flows together. The first verse lays it out. When we read about the fool saying in his heart that there is no God, I wonder if this is a kind of separation between knowledge and emotions.
The people that we are talking about here understand that there is a God, and He does have moral laws that govern the universe. However, emotionally, the fool does not want that to be true, so he makes the emotional decision to deny it. I think that is the significance of pointing out that this was said in his heart.
We can see this even more strongly in verse four. We are faced with the question. Do the workers of iniquity have no knowledge? In other words, it is hard for David to comprehend that anyone could do what they are doing and not have knowledge of their wrongdoing. Clearly, this is implying that they are in denial because there is no way that they don’t understand
What can we take away from this?
First, I think that this should resonate with the “prodigal son” types. People wander away because they want something that the world has, and they deny everything they know because they feel like they will be happier in the long run. This chapter says that is foolish. If we voluntarily ignore what we know, it is simply emotional repression which is wrong.
Second, I think that this is a challenge for all of us. I know that there is kind of a tendency to follow the rules that we want to follow. Similarly, we might only want to surrender certain parts of our lives to God. The entire command says that we need to become living sacrifices, and that does not mean holding back something. It is the same type of repression with slightly different symptoms.