Psalm 53 begins with exactly the same words as Psalm 14:
1 The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
there is no one who does good. (NIV)
The NIV text note adds:
“The Hebrew words rendered fool in Psalms denote one who is morally deficient.”
The Passion Translation (TPT) puts it a bit differently, but with the same meaning:
withering soul would say to himself,
“There’s no God for me!”
Anyone who thinks like that is corrupt and callous;
depraved and detestable, they are devoid of what is good.
The TPT text note also adds:
“The word for fool comes from a Hebrew word meaning withering. If we make no room for God, we have a withered heart; and our moral sense of righteousness is put to sleep, and the noble aspirations of the heart shrivel up and die.”
To use the imagery of our last Psalm (52), when a tree withers and shrivels up and dies it is the opposite to the tree (olive or otherwise) that flourishes, blossoms and produces abundant fruit. And it is the same for human beings who either say, “There is no God” and eventually wither and die, compared to the one who is able to say, I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever (52:8) and flourishes.
I guess I would never have called myself an atheist, although I would never have considered myself a believer in God either. Basically, I was sitting on the fence, so to speak, until the day I was confronted by God Himself, through reading about Jesus in the Gospels. At that time, aged 19, although I was not completely aware of it, my life was heading for disaster – spiritually, emotionally, morally and relationally. And then I picked up that Book – “Good News for Modern Man”, the NT in modern English. As I read it, I discovered God’s incredibly convincing argument concerning the reality of Himself and His desire to be deeply involved in our lives. I found that liberating truth in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
John, referring to Jesus as “The Word” (suggesting divinity), describes God’s incredible plan to enlighten us as follows:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind…14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV John 1:1-4, 14)
The Message Bible translates verse 14 as:
The Word became flesh
and moved into the neighbourhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
As I read the incredible story of Jesus over about 3 months, my shrivelled heart began to long for more – more life, more love, more peace, more purpose, more hope, more relationship with my Creator – and on the 8th February 1970 I said YES to the only One who could fill that longing – Jesus!
So, today the question is, what is the state of your heart today? Shrivelled or flourishing? If the former, you now know what to do about it. Do as I did almost 50 years ago and say Yes to Jesus! I have never regretted it and neither will you.
Here is a prayer you may like to pray:
God, thank you for sending Jesus to reveal in a very down to earth way just who you are. Thank you for his life, his teaching, his death and resurrection to reconcile me to yourself. Today I believe in you. Today I say Yes to you. Be my God, my Saviour, my Lord. Amen.