May 12 2023
Today, Friday May 12
“They Are Corrupt…”
To the Chief Musician. Set to ‘Mahalath.’ A Contemplation of David.
“The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good. God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.
Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call upon God? There they are in great fear Where no fear was, For God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you; You have put them to shame, Because God has despised them.
Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When God brings back the captivity of His people, Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.”
Have you ever wondered where corruption comes from? Well, Psalm 53 gives us a pretty good idea where to look for its source. But first we need to get a little background for the writing of this Psalm. The title seems to attribute it to David. “It is called “a Maschil or a contemplation of David.” Maschil means that it is to be used to instruct or to be a lesson. Also it was given to the leader of the choir or the “chief musician”. This meant it would have been intended to be sung or put to music.
We know that we remember the words of a song a whole lot better when we sing them to some tune. Somehow the tune brings back the words to our mind. That is why the Psalms became the “hymn book” of Israel and also the early church. Paul told the church at Colossae: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). To the church at Ephesus he wrote: “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
Psalm 53 was also to be “Set to Mahalath”. Mahalath has to do with sickness and sorrow, and it corresponds to the mournful condition of Israel when they forget God and go into captivity as punishment for their idolatry and for their sins. Prophetically, this Psalm could also be looking forward to the time of the Antichrist who will proclaim “there is no God” and will persecute Israel and God’s people in the Tribulation period.
One of the most interesting things about Psalm 53 is that it is almost a verbatim repeat of Psalm 14. It is thought that the writer was possibly a musician who simply copied Psalm 14 and set it to new music with the exception of a few words. Many believe that David wanted to make sure the message in Psalm 14 was remembered so he wrote it again. In any case, when God repeats something in the Bible we should take “double” heed to it!
The major difference between Psalm 14 and Psalm 53 lies in the way the name of God is used. In Psalm 14 the name Jehovah is used four times and the name Elohim is used three times. Psalm 53 uses the name Elohim seven times. That is significant. Elohim is God's name as Creator. Now notice at what point atheism breaks through. It is relative to creation. The Bible, which is God's revelation, is denied and is no longer considered trustworthy, infallible, and inerrant. The first chapters of Genesis are branded as folklore and myth, even by some men who claim to be believers. Evolution is adopted as the explanation for the origin of all things. If there is no God, you must somehow explain how we all got here.
Interesting, this Psalm doesn’t say the fool says out loud there is no God. He says it in his heart. He says it because of the corruption and sin in his heart that he wants to continue in. If he can convince himself there is no God to give an account to, he can do what he wants and not worry about it! Read Romans 1:18 where it says that sinful, wicked people who “suppress the truth by their wickedness”. Why do people profess to be atheist? It is because they are corrupt, they do evil rather than good, they do not seek God, they are workers of iniquity, and they can’t stand people who love and live for the Lord! (vv. 1-4). You don’t hear to many politicians proclaiming, “there is no God”. But their policies, lives and lies, obviously display the corruption of their heart.
The sad thing is, far too many of us, as professing Christians, are practical atheist! Most of the time we are living our lives as if there was no God! May the Lord forgive and help us today!