Psalm 53 – Romans 3 – Job 15
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.
The character of the foolish, is to deny the LORD, to see the creation and ponder their own hearts and minds, the very image of God which comprises their being and to deny God is there.
So the sorrow of this Lament is, the tone of a sorrowful heart, the experience of men from the days of old has not changed.
That David knew of such wickedness amongst the Children of Israel teaches us much. The corruption (הִֽשְׁחִ֗יתוּ / שׁחת) is that of self deception (Deut 4:16-25), idol worship (Exodus 32:7-8), and self will (1 Tim 6:5 διαφθείρω). They are literally become destruction, for their ways lead to death, they deny all truth, they follow the path of death. Such is the heart of every man, and all men are as fools apart from the salvation found in Christ who is our true Zion.
2 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if? there are any who understand, who seek God.
The assurance of Almighty God is in the knowledge of Him. The Psalmist sees the Covenant God, YHWH, for He alone can deliver us from our fallen state.
It is God who seeks, it is God who teaches men, it is God who initiates all contact with men. For all He has created He sees the emptiness of the human condition when left to its own devices.
3 They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.
We are familiar with these words in the NT as used by the Apostle Paul, is teach us of the fallen condition of man (Romans 3:9-20) where the guilt of man is measured against the law of God. For it is from the Law of God the standards of perfection are deduced, understood, and applied.
Such was the standard which David knew. Note he does not excuse himself but concludes No not one. Man left to his own path is a fool without knowledge.
4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
And do not call on the LORD?
The contrast here is the wicked of the world vs the people of Israel. It is from these verses which the Apostle Paul articulates the necessity of a Sovereign God. For though men ought to know God and worship Him, should find refuge among His people, even seek to become one with them, yet they see them as a morsel of bread.
The question is rhetorical, for the answer is no. They have knowledge of God, it is written upon their hearts. They see His image in the life of every man woman and child. But they do not call upon God.
5 There they are in great fear,
For God is with the generation of the righteous.
6 You shame the counsel of the poor,
But the LORD is his refuge.
The response of the ignorant is fear, as a wild animal fears its captor, rages, even seeks to kill them. This is not the fear of the godly or the righteous. This is a worrisome fear, fraught with trembling and dread. There is no hope in this fear, for God remains absent from them. They do not call upon the LORD, but would kill Him, if only with words, can say “There is no God!”
But the comfort of the poor in oppression, when the wicked mock God and seek to shame the poor, But they cannot. For the LORD is the refuge of the poor. And who is poor? All of mankind, even the children of the LORD, for they toil as the dust from which they come, and to dust they return. Their value is not in themselves, but in the Almighty God, the Prince of Peace, in the LORD who is our refuge.
7 Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people,
Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.
Here the question is formed, not a proclamation but a prayerful question. Having portrayed the folly of mankind, can seeing the state of all men, vs 7 beginning not with Oh, but with WHO! Who will give Israel salvation from Zion? Which he answers, The LORD will restore His people from captivity.
From the captivity of foolishness, comes lack of knowledge, and self-deceit.
Then will Jacob rejoice, and Israel be glad.
Out of Zion, a deliver came. His name was Christ Jesus. Zion the place of the tabernacle and the temple, the place where curtain was torn. The Holy of Holies.
Elder Matthew Davis
Covenant Reformed Church
at Grass Valley