Psalm 14: Corrupt Mankind

“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.
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.
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.
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.”
-Psalm 14

In college, I served through a ministry in D.C. for a low-income area to young kids and their families.  It was an amazing experience, but it came with it’s fears and tragedies.  It’s was an awesome ministry, focused on after-school help and Saturday Bible school for the kids, and holiday outreach to the families involving serving up food put together by the church we worked out of.  But there was one time, I was walking around to collect some of the kids from their homes for Bible school, and I got a kid who had clearly been abused.  These were mostly really young kids, mind you.  And the other kids I had with me immediately reacted.  Got back to the complex we were working out of, and had to sit down with the kid to find out what happened.

That talk is always tough- you don’t want to be right.  You don’t want to hear that that child is beaten violently night after night by a parent with drinking problems, or who has anger problems and just sees that kid as a financial burden.  But you also really don’t want whatever it is to keep happening to this kid.  And sometimes, the kids are told not to talk about it, and they won’t tell us.  It’s heart breaking, but it is the reality we live in.  I had such a tough time with this in college- I volunteered as much as I could to make sure those kids got the love they deserved and learned that God would always be there with them.  Sometimes we had to report the happenings to social services, and I could never understand why people committed such cruel acts.

David had this problem too.  How can their be so much evil in the world; evil hearts, evil times, evil works?  He is looking on the character of one who rejects God.  And that means people who call themselves Christian are not exempt- because you can be attending church regularly, but be rejecting God inwardly.  However, David is speaking of those who do not believe at all in God.  “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”  He starts off with this because the one who denies the existence of God makes them-self seem a fool- their denial doesn’t negate the existence of God.  It sure does dishearten David, though, as it should.  Imagine for yourself that your Heavenly Creator is looking down at the earth from Heaven and doesn’t find anyone seeking after Him.  And the evil comes from their heart, the place that only God knows.

I sometimes find that I learn more about what characteristics I do want by looking at what characteristics I really don’t want and developing, within myself, a hatred toward those negative qualities.  As you read this passage, do you feel like this is what David is doing?  It is discouraging to see or think on the negative happening all around you.  They do not pray, or seek God.  “Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his refuge.”  The poor are those who know they need to depend on God from a recognition of their own shortcomings.  When you witness evil around you, it should upset you.  And it should make you check yourself for any similar qualities, and them reflect on God and see what quality He desires for His children.

In typical Psalm fashion (Psalm is the new black), David closes off by rejoicing in the Lord.  Can you recall a time when you couldn’t see a positive side to a situation and just felt overwhelmed with negative?  When I was 13, my Nonna was rushed to the hospital with a brain aneurysm.  It had burst- I think she had fallen out of bed, triggering this series of events which landed her in the hospital.  I’d spent so many months with this woman of God right before this happened.  My dad had shattered his ankle, so she (his mom- my Nonna) had come to help out our family and take care of him.  Then I spent my 13th birthday with her in Italy, learning about her, having some of the most intimate conversations about God I’d ever had up to that time, and loving every outing that I got to go on and spend time with her through the lovely streets of Italy.  We got the call in the evening that she didn’t survive, a week before Christmas, and when my dad said we should be rejoicing that she was in Heaven, I couldn’t believe it.  I know now that my dad was right, but at the time I saw the loss of this wonderful woman from my life as a horrible injustice.  Why couldn’t the doctors save her?  Why was the world so against me?  Who was I supposed to write to now?  I couldn’t see any positive in this, and my dad was crying with joy in the kitchen with the rest of my family, comforting each other, and now I was just angry.  A day before all this, I had received a letter from my Nonna and she was alive and well, and I had written back to her, if I remember right…excited to have a ‘pen pal’. And now she was gone…

As years went on, and I grew in the Lord, I began reflecting regularly on what God was trying to teach me in events of the past to prepare myself for what may come.  David rejoiced in what he knew.  He knew that God was his refuge, whether he felt like it while surrounded by negative things or not, he knew he could find joy in this knowledge.  And he rejoices in the restoration and deliverance that he knows will come.  He knew that letting himself stay down over these things would not be profitable to the kingdom, or at least not as profitable, since God can do anything through anyone.  But he was determined to not be like those who deny God, so he desired to be as effective for the kingdom as he could be.

Be blessed, loved ones.  Rejoice in the Lord always.

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