1 The fool speaks in his heart; “There is no God,” he says. They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; none walk in godly ways.
2 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the human race To see if any understand, if any seek God’s face.
3 They all have turned aside; corrupt they have become. Not one of them does any good— no, not a single one.
4 Will sinners never learn? My people they’ve devoured As if they were consuming bread; they never seek the LORD.
5 But see that evil crowd! They are struck down with dread, Although they thought within their hearts they would have ease instead.
The bones of all your foes were scattered far abroad; And you have put them all to shame— they were despised by God.
6 May help from Zion come! The LORD his captives bring! And then let Jacob’s tribes be glad; for joy let Israel sing!
You can hear a Free Church of Scotland congregation sing this to the lovely tune Selma here
The fool. We’re taken aback seeing this word. Surely Jesus taught that we should not call anyone a fool? But checking my concordance, this word appears often enough in the Old Testament – in the Psalms and especially in the Book of Proverbs. Each time, there is a recurring theme; about God.
We are told that only a fool denies the existence of God, the sovereignty of God, and the goodness of God; the results for the fool are not good.
We’re not fools, however. Here we are, reading His Word, taking in what He says, meditating on it in our hearts. No, the fool is that other person, the atheist, the humanist, the one who thinks they’re too clever to need God.
A friend suggested her son pray about something and was told sharply that he didn’t need a crutch. Such are the overt atheists. But even we can fall into the pitfall of functional atheism.
When life’s troubles come thick and fast, when governments threaten to plunge the world into disaster, when things have got so bad we fall into despair and give up on hope and trust in a God big enough to sort everything out, in a loving God caring enough and involved enough to intervene… that’s when we are perilously close to functional atheism. Simply not believing who He is, what He can do, that He will… That’s when we are in danger of being fools.
‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ Trusting in Him regardless of what the world looks like, refusing to accept the world’s explanations and so-called solutions, and pinning all of our hopes on God – that is true wisdom.
Anything else is the way of the fool.
Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief.
Dorothy Courtis is a lay preacher and Elder at Halesworth URC in Suffolk