To the chief Musician, [A Psalm] of David.
“Psalm 14”: This psalm could be dedicated to the atheist. With the denial of God’s existence often comes the moral decay described (in verses 1-6), and which was used by Paul to prove the universal depravity of the human race (Rom. 3:10-12). While the “fool” may deny that God is, the righteous finds in Him the object of hopeful prayer for deliverance (verse 7).
Verses 1-7: (Psalm 14), a wisdom poem, along with its nearly identical twin (Psalm 53), contains profound deliberations on human depravity. David’s representative desire for deliverance (verse 7), provides the chorus to his two preceding dirges on depravity.
(1) The Dirges on Depravity (14:1-6);
- The First Dirge: In the Form of a Round, Addresses the Universality of Depravity (14:1-3);
- The Second Dirge: In the Form of a Ballad, Addresses the Futility of Depravity (14:4-6).
(2) The Chorus on Deliverance (14:7);
- The Wish for it (14:7a);
- The Worship Attending it (14:7b-c).
Verses 1-3: The “alls” and “no ones” of these lines make the indictments universally applicable. No wonder Paul included these indictments (in Rom. 3:10-12). There is also a common scriptural association of doing with thinking.
Psalm 14:1 “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 fool”: In the Bible, this designation carries moral rather than intellectual meaning (Isa. 32:6).
The Hebrew word rendered “fool” in the Old Testament denotes one who is morally deficient (53:1; Deut. 32:5-6; Prov. 17:20-21).
It would certainly be a fool who would say there is no God. We have only to look around us at all of God’s creation and know there is God. Just the fact that a planet rotates in the atmosphere and does not fall, shows that there is order in the universe. Some One, greater than you and I, put the planet there and told it what to do. So many people in the age we live in, have the false idea that we will become a god some day. To answer them I say, have you created any worlds lately? An intelligence so far above our comprehension created the entire universe, and everything and everyone in it. I can dig a hole in the ground and plant a seed, water it and watch it grow. The strange thing is that, I did not make the ground to put it in. I had nothing to do with the making of the seed, and I didn’t even make the water to water it with. You see, if there were no God to provide the earth, the seed, and the water, then I could not grow a plant. I am not even in control of the next breath I breathe.
When God gets ready for me to stop breathing, I will. How foolish it is to say there is no God. You see, we do not even have the ability to save ourselves from hell. We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. If we say we have not sinned, we are a liar. Our only hope is God. He loved us and sent His precious Son to die on the cross to save us. Our sins are not just covered up, they are wiped away in the blood of our precious Savior, Jesus Christ. The only thing we are required to do is to believe. What a fool, to say there is no God.
Psalm 14:2 “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, [and] seek God.”
To search out the truth. God knoweth all things without any inquiry. This is a figure called anthrōpopatheia, (the attributing of human emotions), whereby Scripture often speaks of God after the manner of men.
“Upon the children of men”: Upon the whole body of the Israelites’ nation, and upon the generality of mankind under heaven. For he speaks of all except his people, and the righteous ones, who are here opposed to these (Psalm 14:4-5).
“That did understand, and seek God”: That did truly know God, to wit, so as to love, and fear, and trust, and obey him, (for all these are frequently signified in Scripture by this expression of knowing God). And that did diligently seek him, i.e. study his mind and will, that they might do it, and seek his grace and favor.
In the days of Noah, God did this very thing. He was grieved in His heart, because He had made man. He searched to see if there were any who believed, and He found Noah. The really sad thing was, that God could not even find 10 people in right standing with Him in Sodom and Gomorrah. It appears from this verse, that even in David’s day, it was hard to find anyone living for God. We might say that if God looked down today, He might decide that it is worse now than then. There are a few real Christians, but the world as a whole has gone bad. Sin is on every corner.
Psalm 14:3 “They are all gone aside, they are [all] together become filthy: [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one.”
From God and the rule he hath given them to walk by. From truth into error, and from duty into sin; from the paths of wisdom and righteousness. They are altogether become filthy, loathsome, and abominable before God.
This is speaking of humanity as a whole. Truly our generation would be classified as the evilest generation. I personally believe that television has had a great deal to do with the evil that is so rampant today. Movies that are so filthy they would not have been allowed even in B movie houses a few years ago, are shown on prime-time television now. Drugs and alcohol are rampant in our society. My own opinion of why drugs and alcohol are used so much is, because people are not able to face the realities of each day. They think if they get high on drugs or alcohol, it will help them face the day to day problems of life. Wholesale credit plans have ruined many marriages. Soap operas cause young girls to put unrealistic hopes on their marriages. Little children (neglected by parents), are seeking love in gangs. It really seems the whole society has gone crazy. Where are the true Christians who will stand up and try to change things for the better? Someone must say, STOP! Christian men and women of America must take a stand for God. We are in a war. Who will stand, even in the face of death, for Christian principles set down in the Bible? Will God say of our generation, where is even one who truly loves Me?
Verses 4-7: God has promised to be a present “refuge” for the “righteous (see note on 1:5), a secure place for the godly when tremendous evil presses in (14:3). God’s presence brings “great fear” to those who wish to harm His people, while delivering hope to those who trust in Him.
The shift from third person affirmations about the wicked (verses 4-5), to the second person (verse 6a), intensifies this confrontation with divine judgment.
Psalm 14:4 “Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Who eat up my people [as] they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.”
Have they lost their senses? Have they neither religion nor common discretion? Either of which might teach them not to fight against Omnipotence. Not to seek death, everlasting death and destruction, in the error of their life. Not to rush voluntarily into the wrath of God, and provoke the vengeance of eternal fire.
“Who eat up my people”: Who devour and destroy them, meaning God’s people, the poor and godly Israelites.
“As they eat bread”: With as little regret or remorse, and with as much greediness, delight, and constancy also, as they use to eat their meat.
“They call not upon the Lord”: They are guilty, not only of gross injustice toward men, but also of horrid impiety and contempt of God. Denying his providence, and wholly neglecting, if not despising, his worship. Strange! that they should all be thus senseless, as not only to injure and oppress my poor innocent people, but to be cruel and void of all pity toward them, and to throw off likewise all religion!
These workers of iniquity are those who have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. They are not satisfied with being lost themselves, but constantly are encouraging weak Christians to get involved with them. It is dangerous to fellowship with those of unbelief. Christians should witness to the lost, but do not go into their places and get involved in their sin to witness to them. These workers of iniquity desire to absorb Christians into their way of life (eat them). Christians are to be separated people. We are not to be caught up in the things of this world. When we receive Jesus as our Savior, we are symbolically buried with Jesus. We rise to new life in Him, which means we live our life the way Jesus would live if He were living it. The world and the wicked in it, are headed for hell. Don’t go with them, Christian.
Psalm 14:5 “There were they in great fear: for God [is] in the generation of the righteous.”
“There”: In the midst of their evil-doing, while they are devouring God’s people, a sudden terror seizes on them. (Psalm 53:5 adds), “Where no fear was,” which seems to imply a panic terror, like that which seized the Syrians when they were besieging Samaria (2 Kings 7:6-7). For God is in the generation of the righteous. God’s people cannot be attacked without provoking him. They were in him, and he in them; he will assuredly come to their relief.
“In the generation of the righteous”: I.e. among them, with his gracious and powerful presence to defend them, and to fight against their enemies. Or, God is for, etc. That is, God is on their side, and therefore their enemies have great cause to fear.
This fear is speaking of the terrible awareness of knowing you have sinned and deserve to go to hell. This fear (reverence), of God causes a man to repent. Repentance of sin and accepting Jesus as our Savior, makes us righteous in God’s sight. Those who have accepted a full pardon through the shed blood of Jesus, are the generation of the righteous in God.
Psalm 14:6 “Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD [is] his refuge.”
The poor saints, the Lord’s people. The generation of the righteous, who are generally the poor of this world. Poor in spirit, and an afflicted people. And the counsel of them intends not the counsel which they give to others, but the counsel which they receive from the Lord. From the Spirit of counsel, which rests upon them, and with which they are guided. And this is to trust in the Lord, and to make him their refuge; and which is good advice, the best of counsel. Happy and safe are they that take it! But this is derided by wicked and ungodly men. They mock at the poor saints for it, and endeavor to shame them out of it. But hope makes not ashamed (see Psalm 22:7).
“Because the Lord is his refuge”: He betakes himself to him when all others fail. And finds him to be a refuge from the storm of impending calamities, and from all enemies.
The evil doers of this world, laugh at the righteousness of the believer. There is a day when their laughing will cease.
Proverbs 14:26 “In the fear of the LORD [is] strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.”
God fights our enemies for us.
Hebrews 6:18 “That by two immutable things, in which [it was] impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:”
Psalm 14:7 “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.”
“Zion”: The place on earth where God was pleased to reveal His presence, protection, and power (compare Psalms 3:4; 20:2; 128:5; 132:13; 134:3).
Throughout all Jewish history they have looked for the Messiah, their Savior. This Scripture possibly, is prophetic in more than one way. Not only did Jesus come to the earth and save all who would believe, but this also looks to the time when physical Israel comes back into the land. I believe that it further indicates the coming of the Lord for the church (Zion). To further understand this Scripture, study about the two sticks that come together. The 37th chapter of Ezekiel is a good starting point. I will leave this part of the study to you. Just one note here, the ones to study are Jacob and Israel.
Psalms 14 Questions
- The fool has said in his heart, ________ ____ ____ ______.
- What is one undeniable proof that there is God?
- When we think we are a little god, what question does the author ask us?
- What is the strange thing about growing a plant?
- Our only hope is _____.
- In the days of Noah, God looked down to the earth and was sorry about what?
- God could not find ___ righteous men in Sodom and Gomorrah.
- What would God think, if He looked down and saw our society?
- What does the author believe is a large contributing factor to the evil in our society?
- What does the author believe is the underlying reason that people are alcoholics and drug addicts?
- What has ruined many marriages?
- What is the underlying cause of many young girls having unrealistic ideas about marriage?
- Why do a lot of children join gangs?
- What must Christian men and women do to change things for the better?
- Who are the workers of iniquity in verse 4?
- Why is it dangerous for Christians to fellowship with those of iniquity?
- God is in the generation of the _____________.
- Describe what makes us righteous.
- In what ways is Psalm 14:7 prophetic?