URC Daily Devotion 10 December 2023

Sunday, 10 December 2023

Psalm 14

Fools have said in their hearts:
“There is no God above.”
Their deeds are corrupt, depraved;
there is no good person left.
From heaven the Lord looks down
on the people of the earth
to see if any are wise,
if any seek God.

All have left the right path,
depraved, every one;
there is no good person left,
no, not even one.

Will the evil-doers not understand?
They eat up my people
as though they were eating bread:
they never pray to the Lord.

See how they tremble with fear
without cause for fear:
for God is with the just.
You may mock the hope of the poor,
but their refuge is the Lord.

O that Israel’s salvation might come from Zion!
When the Lord delivers his people from bondage,
then Jacob will be glad and Israel rejoice.

The Psalms: An Inclusive Language Version based on the Grail translation from the Hebrew
© 1963, 1986 The Grail (England) GIA Publications


Wise people seek God, at all times, in all places.  They know that God is Other, yet also in deep relationship with humankind.  God is. God is also Creator, Sustainer and righteous Judge, All in All, for none can step outside God’s compass.

As a fish takes the water for granted, every person lives, moves and has their being in God, without always knowing or recognising such reality (you may like to read about Paul, speaking to the people of Athens in Acts 17). Many – deliberately or unwittingly – ignore what God requires.  Atheism, then, is active as well as intellectual.  It results in damaging choices being made, again and again.  

Environmental chaos, homelessness, hunger, poverty and violence are among the consequences.

Let’s be clear. ‘God’ can never be reduced to a three-letter noun, nor ever be fully known by mortals.  

We might wonder whether people rightly dismiss naïve and narrow concepts of the Holy Other. They discard what’s unhelpful without looking deeper. For some, it’s the masculine pronoun, for many of us it’s (unholy!) wrath.  Yet while human experience of the Other must honour Otherness, such encounter may be amazingly personal, a drawing into ever closer relationship, a never-ending conversation….  We must hear out one another’s stories.

Yet Psalm 14 remains prophetic.  We are left in no doubt that the One to whom we belong also searches us out.  We are accountable, no matter our grand delusions of autonomy and self-sufficiency.  How we treat the weak, the poor, the oppressed does matter.  Failure to question crushing systems favouring the rich is to stray far from what’s required.  

Yet, as the old hymn reminds us, ‘God’ is not only truth but beauty and love too.

Jesus came to show him,
that we all might know him!

Unlike the psalmist, we have Christ Jesus as our pattern. It is maybe easier for us to spot and to reflect true godliness.


Dearest loving God, my all in all, 
Fount of beauty, goodness, truth and wisdom,
Look beyond my failings.  I have lost myself in the market place.
Bring me to my senses so that I reflect something of your reality in this dark world.  Amen 




Today’s writer

The Rev’d Roberta Ritson, Minister at NorthTyne Local Ecumenical Partnership and Horsley Village Church



New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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