In this Psalm we see God’s judgment upon atheists and all who deny the reality of God. We can almost understand atheistic unbelief, because atheists are unsaved, but what of Christian unbelief? Yes, I mean it. It seems that many believers are only-just, living lives of poor regard for the things of God and for their own selves.
Christians today tend to be superficial, with scarcely a nod towards God, though they claim to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. And they have no love. They live as though God did not really exist. Many do not even read their Bibles, except when they want something, or are in trouble! Some think they can turn God off and on like a tap. Then, after enjoying their sinfulness they try to turn back to God.
The question that arises is: were they saved in the first place? It is a reasonable query, given the sinful, and often ungodly, ways lived by people who claim to be saved. They assume God will allow them to continue in their sins, particularly if they are relatively young. I know of many who have claimed to be saved, but who smoke, drink and even take drugs. In this condition they may also have promiscuous sex, or the laughable ‘steady’ sex of one boy or girlfriend! Are these people saved? We have every authority from God to ask that question, because their lives are unholy, and atheistic in form.
What is the answer? That is very easy – they must repent and live holy lives. Not go out to the usual hot-spots of sin to do what every unsaved sinner does! They must read scripture daily, pray, meditate on God’s word, and obey Him. For young Christians this is all too much, so it seems, even if they attend church meetings. They prefer clubs and pubs, dances and drink, concerts and all the other things enjoyed by the sinful unsaved. They should know that God sees them and hates what they do.
This need to repent and change is not an option to be chosen if we wish, but a command of God. Therefore, those who are spiritually mature must remind them of this. What if they do not change (and such a change must be instant)? Well, we must shun them until they do. This is God’s answer, not mine. If they still do not change, then we can justly assume they are, after all, unsaved.
Today, atheists are running riot, trying to stop all mention of God in public life. They hate God so much they even place advertisements on buses and billboards, telling everyone that God does not exist. Of course, they can say whatever they like – but it does not make it true! Even so, we must respond in a measured way, not resorting to similar tactics, because God is not a product to be hawked or advertised.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
There is an odd notion amongst Christians, who, by misinterpreting scripture, say that we may never refer to a man as a ‘fool’. Yet, here in black and white, we see David saying: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”
And the statement is true: anyone who openly says there is no God is a fool. They cover their ignorance and folly with scorn and derision, but it does not make any difference. Scorn does not remove reality! Saying something is not so, does not mean it IS not so! It is just the subjective, sinful belief of a few.
One could even use philosophical argument to show just how silly these people, who think themselves so clever, really are. But, what is the point? They are just wrong, plain and simple. Do not be sucked into their vacuous beliefs and claims; just view them as fools, ready for hell and hated by God unless they repent and are saved. The odd thing about atheists is that they KNOW they are wrong and speak nonsense, just like anyone who commits sin and defies the testimony of God in their lives. Romans 1 tells us this, powerfully. The reason they shout so loudly is that they know they are being foolish. The louder they shout the more they prove their folly and show how much they realise they are wrong!
The word ‘fool’, nabal, means the person is senseless, stupid and vile. It also means they are abandoned to the life of a sinner and so are wicked in God’s eyes. Therefore, Christians who act like fools, rejecting or manipulating God’s word to suit themselves, are playing a dangerous game. God can come at any time to finish their lives, yet they continue their charade of pretending to be a genuine Christian!
To be a nabal or fool is to be treated as one, nabel (root of nabal), with contempt. It also means they are ‘falling’ or dropping down, with the idea of withering away, hence the notion that they are ‘backslidden’, or ‘falling away’. There comes a point where the person drops down so far, they will never be put right in this world, because God hands them over to their sins. Do not think this is impossible – it happens, and I have witnessed it. The person will enter Heaven, but at what price to their earthly, sinful sojourn? It is too fearsome to contemplate!
This shows us that foolish Christians are not to be shown sympathy. God says they are vile and foolish, requiring contempt. They must be frankly told to change, or they will incur the wrath of our most holy Lord. And if this wrath is shown towards the children of God, what of those who are fools WITHOUT God? I shudder to think of their end, which inevitably means going to hell forever. It is the unsaved fool God is referring to in this chapter.
We know He is referring to the unsaved for He speaks of men who “said in his heart” that God does not exist. The heart is the seat of everything constituting man; his innermost beliefs. The foolish Christian at least knows in his silly heart that God exists! But, the atheist is the real fool, the one who is most stupid, for he denies the reality of what he sees around him every day, the handiwork of God.
They say God does not exist NOT because they believe it, but because they know He exists, and try their best to avoid saying it. Why? Because “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works”. To be corrupt, shachath, is to be destroyed, ruined, rotting, perverted. In other words, sinners bound for hell. Note they are perverted, thus homosexuals and similar sexual sinners are included, whose behaviour is called elsewhere ‘abominable’ and worthy only of condemnation and hell.
Because they are corrupt, they do what is ‘abominable’. Abominable, ta’ab, is to be abhorred, detested, loathed, not just in part but totally and utterly. This is how God views sin and sinners. And it is how we all should view sin and sinners. It does not mean we must be vicious towards them. It just means it is how God sees sin and sinners, so we must never, ever, give leeway for sin.
Unfortunately, many Christians allow their loved ones to sin, without warning them or shunning them when the sin requires it. We might love them, but God hates them! That is a stark fact. To hide this with our love is not acceptable, nor is it particularly loving. Is it not more loving to tell them honestly what God says, so that they may be saved from having coals of perdition heaped upon them? This is why we are commanded to tell each other the truth, to counsel those who sin, lovingly but firmly. We must counsel each other as soon as sin starts to form. In this way we avoid entering deeply into a way of life loathed by God.
However, we cannot do this for the unsaved who deny the existence of God. They are condemned before they start, by divine decree. Why should Christians wish to emulate the unsaved, whose end will be hell? Everything they do is abominable. They can do nothing to win God’s favour. Only predestination and election can cause them to be saved, not just from God’s daily wrath, but also from hell.
Of course, atheists do not believe in God, so do not believe in hell or heaven. They see no reason to live by God’s rules. Or, so they say. The very fact that they object so strongly proves they KNOW God is there, but they prefer not to live morally or according to God’s demands; they shout against it to hide their fear of God.
The overall statement by God is that “(there is) none that doeth good.” ‘Good’, towb, is to do what God requires: what is good, pleasant, agreeable to Him. Invariably, it must also be the best, excellent, right and appropriate. But, nobody can do any of this unless they are saved by grace. Even then, the good they do, acceptable to God, is only through and in Jesus Christ. That is, no man can do anything agreeable to God, but is only acceptable through His Son. Therefore, those who are unsaved, cannot please God, no matter what they do, and no matter how ‘good’ they think it is.
On the other hand, every person, saved or not, MUST do what God commands, and this is the only way people see benefits to themselves, bearing in mind that when believers are given freedom to honour the Lord the whole nation will enjoy the benefits of God.
The western nations are all on a downward spiral of evil and lack of benefits, thanks to atheism (a tool of Satan) and its many-pronged attacks on God and His people. Again, I repeat a warning to all Christians who refuse to act properly before God, who live sinfully, and reject holiness. God will not be mocked; He WILL act against them unless they repent immediately.
The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
God looks down on the world with searing eyes. He sees all and knows all. From His divine throne and place, Heaven, He judges what we think, say and do. He looks to see if anyone understands or has true knowledge of Himself, living out what they believe. He looks to see if they seek Him. (This is rhetorical, because God already knows the answers).
So, does anyone seek God with understanding? Understanding means to have insight, to know what God’s word means, to comprehend what He requires. The same question appears in the New Testament: does anyone seek after God? Do they look earnestly to find God? Do they take care to find Him? Do they spend time to get hold of the most precious thing in this world – God’s approval and presence?
These are important questions, because many Christians and so-called Christian devices (such as the Alpha Course and a plethora of humanly-devised theories) aim to ‘reach’ the unsaved by being clever, humorous, witty and ‘modern’. They do it because they think that the answer to sin is simply to get the message over in terms people understand. It is a myth!
So, what Does God say about all this? Does He find ANYONE who is seeking after Him? The answer is a resounding ‘NO’! After searching the world (and this is meant to apply to all of time and all people), He says “They are all gone aside, they are (all) together become filthy: (there is) none that doeth good, no, not one.” That is rather conclusive and definitive! No-one seeks after God, so all those charismatic, ecumenical and Alpha efforts are all in vain.
The real answer is just to preach the word of God. God has already chosen who will be saved in this life. No-one else will come to Him, because no matter how much they learn and see, they cannot ever be saved. Those who hear the Gospel and are saved, do so because they were already elect. No-one seeks after God.
They are “gone aside” – turned away from God, avoiding Him. Indeed, they are cuwr – removed from Him and rejected. Their fate is made very plain. If you read this and again reject God… how dare you! Your rejection is the seal on your future in eternity.
Those who reject, and are rejected by, God, have “become filthy”, ‘alach: morally corrupt, rather like milk gone sour. We see this all around us today, and we also note how many new Christians, particularly the young, follow the same pattern. Thy do not recognise the royal prerogative to be honoured and praised. They live tainted lives thinking they are eternally safe. And so they are; but their earthly life is under immense threat of God removing His presence if they do not repent.
They do not see it because they do not wish to; they prefer living free of God’s demands and morals. But, it is a delusion, for though they might live sinfully, they have no right to do so, and God will one day stop them in their tracks.
Back to the eternally unsaved: they never do what is good. You might argue that many do great good works. But, this is not the point. If we do good works separate from God’s calling, then we do what is filthy in His sight. He does not recognise them as good, but as dirty rags fit for nothing. The same applies to all those supposedly ‘good works’ done by so many local churches. It does not matter what those ‘good works’ are: if God does not prompt them, they are as nothing, just dirty rags. As for the unsaved, no unsaved person can do anything good throughout their lives. Good for society perhaps, but only in an earthly sense; they have no reward from God.
And, as the Lord tells us, when he looks upon this earth, no man is found to be good, “no, not one”. Let this be the rallying cry for all Christians, whose measure of good is God, not their own inventions and ways. Do you understand the distinction? If you do not, then you may do ‘good works’ for your entire life, and yet not receive any recognition for them from God. In other words, you will waste your whole life on works that are deemed to be filthy rags by God! Check your soul, friends.
Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.
There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.
Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.
The next question is whether or not these unsaved wicked people have any knowledge of divine things. Even many Christians deny that the unsaved have this knowledge, famous examples being isolated tribes, etc. But, this does not hold water as far as God is concerned, for He says in Romans 1 that everyone has knowledge of God. This is what I said earlier. There is no excuse for atheism, or for its profound and growing satanic hatred of godly things and God’s people.
‘Workers of iniquity’ deliberately set out to damage and destroy everything of God. This is what is going on today throughout the world. Do these wicked people, the unsaved, know what they are doing? Of course they do! They are inflicting troubles, sorrow and evil upon Christians, and they know it; they also know the misery this causes, but are quite delighted to impose it. They are enjoying their power, given to them by governments, and use it destructively. Iniquity also includes idolatry, and we see the Roman Catholic church and Islam marching side by side on this issue.
In grimly imposing their evils upon Christians, and causing intense misery and trouble for them, atheistic people antagonise God Himself, Who will respond. Atheists and similar unbelievers “eat up” God’s people like wolves as easily as they eat bread, and deny God totally, never calling upon Him. As I have noted many times before, they do this even though their systems and beliefs, contradicting God’s word, only make things worse, bringing ruin upon their countries. But, they still do it, such is their hatred for God and His people. They prefer to suffer than to live in joy and peace.
So, yes, atheists have knowledge of God, in the things made by God and in general life; but they choose to ignore Him. They want immorality and evil rather than peace, decency and truth. The results are before us in the daily news… filth, violence, immorality, indecency, hatred. The day is coming, as it did with Noah’s generation, when God will finally destroy man’s arrogance and evil. At that time God will send all who rejected Him to hell. And those the evil ones hated will enter Heaven. It does not make any difference that atheists deny the existence of God, for God will simply crush them underfoot.
Matthew Henry sees verse 4 in another light, that the wicked do NOT have knowledge of God. But, this contradicts Romans 1, so I do not accept Henry’s commentary on this text. Rather, I say that the wicked, fully knowing God exists and that what they do is evil, go ahead anyway, disregarding all things good.
Though he says the wicked have no knowledge of God, Henry contradicts himself, by suggesting that the wicked have secret inner fears because they attack God’s people. But, if they had no knowledge of God they would not have fears! Rather, they have their fears because they KNOW God exists and have rejected Him. They KNOW they hate without reason, but, like all who work for Satan, they cannot stop themselves from their hatred. It is a fact that atheists have these inner fears and great anxieties, which they will not speak of, nor admit to. Their arrogance is not borne of ignorance, but of a desire to block the laser-like glance of the Lord, Who sees into their dead souls and burns them up.
Though these evil people, atheists and others, hate and spoil nations, God is with those who trust in Him: He is “in the generation of the righteous”. Even if we are surrounded on all sides by Satan’s envoys, God is still with us, and none can touch us without His consent. And, even when evil strikes us, we are given God’s grace and strength to carry on, firmly witnessing to His holiness and truth. Those who hate us can see this special relationship between God and us, and they fear. But, in their fear they hit out yet again, as if to blot out the coming day of their destruction. They block out conscience by doing even more hateful things. But, deep inside, they fear God and envy His people. Hence the hatred.
In their speed to pour contempt upon God and Christians atheists will overstretch themselves and try to shame the “counsel of the poor”. That is, they act shamefully and wickedly to get their own way, in an attempt to get rid of God’s purpose for them. The ‘poor’ are Christians, who these wicked men think are weak and wretched. Of course they are, if the law, government and society treat them as a disease! But, even so, God is with them, and against atheists, and all who are unsaved.
Yet, God is the refuge of His children; He is their hiding place and source of power and protection. Thus, no man can harm them in the sense that really matters – their souls are owned by God, and Satan cannot do anything about it. The wicked rage around us, but God has us in His arms, safely carrying us through all storms.
Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.
Now David speaks, calling for God’s power to come out of Heaven (Zion) to save Israel from their enemies, those who say God does not exist. It is a very strange thing, that though they plainly see God at every turn, and know He works on behalf of His people, they continue to hate and to reject Him.
God will one day remove the shackles put on us by Satan’s workers and take us out of captivity. Then the patriarchs will rejoice and the country will know peace for a short while. If we all turn back to God as we should, we would see a vast change in the country we live in, though atheistic people try to harm us and remove all trace of God and His word.
© December 2010
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
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