The Blindness of the Fool
By Lee Jones
Some of the most intelligent people in the world are atheists, we’re told. All their education and experience has led them to the inevitable conclusion that there is no God.
No offense to those folks, but that is utter foolishness, and David is set to make that point in this Psalm. He won’t blame intelligence, ignorance, or anything else brain-related at all. Instead, David points to the root problem...the deadness of the human heart.
Christian, salvation did come from Zion. On Golgotha hill, just outside Jerusalem’s old walls, on a dirty Roman cross.
Verses 1-3 are devastating. The fools are “corrupt...they have committed abominable deeds,” “they have all turned aside...become corrupt...there is no one who does good, not even one.” It seems that this foolishness is all-pervasive, which makes this verse important to the doctrine of total depravity: that man at his core hates God and is bent on sinning. No matter how moral he is, no one does good, not even one.
David asks a poignant question in verse 4, “Do all the workers of wickedness not know?” They victimize God’s people, eating them up like bread, and they disdain His gracious covenant by not calling on YHWH’s name.
But still YHWH is a refuge for His people, and He’s with His righteous generation. So all those who seek to shame His own will themselves be put to shame.
What is remarkable is that, if we don’t read closely, we may think verse 5 refers to God’s people being in terror, when it actually refers to the evildoers. Though they are not aware of it, they are in incredible danger. Why? Because God is passionate for His people and is passionate for His glory. Any people opposing Him in their sin are fit for destruction.
God is instead with the righteous generation. Even in the times of the Tabernacle worship, when the tent was set in the middle of the Israelite camp, God has always been with His people. God did this perfectly when in Jesus Christ, who tabernacled (or dwelt) among His people during His earthly ministry. He is the eternal second person of the Trinity, who carried the sins of His people to the cross and was resurrected for their eternal hope.
This Psalm’s statement of God’s passion for His people is important, so we shouldn’t miss it. So often we feel defeated by self-righteous sinners that constantly bombard us with mockery. Like David, we are able by grace to take the long view.
That’s why David ends with these beautiful lines, “Oh that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores His captive people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad.”
Christian, salvation did come from Zion. On Golgotha hill, just outside Jerusalem’s old walls, on a dirty Roman cross. The Israel of God, the children of Abraham by faith, certainly is glad in the work of Christ on its behalf. He will lose none of it, having given His life to redeem it. Our only boast is in Him. Be glad, my believing friends. Repent and believe, my unbelieving friends, and come join the joyful congregation who eagerly await the outcome of our faith.
Glory to God alone.