BOOK ONE Psalms 1–41
This Psalm in general is a description of the depravity of human nature. How we are conceived in sin and of the corruption of the majority of mankind. In almost all the psalms from the 3rd to this, David had been complaining of those who hated him. Now he traces all those bitter streams to the fountain, the general corruption of all the children of men.
Psalm 14 – A Psalm of David
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call on the Lord?
There they are in great fear, For God is with the generation of the righteous. You shame the counsel of the poor, But the Lord is his refuge. Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord brings back the captivity of His people, Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.
Sin is the disease of mankind
Henry says – Sin is the disease of mankind, and is here shown to be malignant and epidemic. At the bottom of all sin is practical atheism. The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. We are sometimes tempted to think, “Surely there never was so much atheism and profaneness as there is in our day.” But we see the former days were no better. Even in David’s time, there were those who had arrived at such a height of godlessness as to deny the very existence of God.
The sinner here says in his heart, There is no God. He is an atheist. “There is no Elohim, no Judge or governor of the world, no Divine being presiding over the affairs of men.” He cannot satisfy himself that there isn’t one, but wishes there were none so he might please himself. This displays the character of this man. He is a fool. He is simple and unwise. Atheistical thoughts are very foolish thoughts. They are at the bottom of a great deal of the wickedness that is in this world. The Word of God is a discerner of these thoughts, and brands the one who harbours them. No man will say, There is no God until his heart has been so hardened that it best serves him that there should be no one to call him to an account.
This disease is epidemic
Sinners are corrupt and quite degenerated from what man once was in his innocent estate. They have become filthy (Ps. 14:3), putrid, corrupt indeed for they do no good. They do no service to God, bring Him no honour, and do themselves a great disservice. Doing a great deal of hurt-They have done abominable works. Sin is an abomination to God and that abominable thing which He hates (Jer. 44:4). Sooner or later, it will be so to the sinner; it will be found to be hateful (Ps. 36:2).
This disease is epidemic which has infected the whole human race. God Himself is brought in for an eye witness, Ps. 14:2, 3. The Lord looked down from heaven. With an all-seeing eye, He took a view of all the children of men, and asked whether there were any among them who did understand rightness. Any who did seek God and set Him before them.
Does any do good?
He who made this search was One who could find a good man if one was to be found. But He was also One who would be glad to find out that one. He would be sure to take notice of him, as of Noah in the old world. Upon a thorough search it appeared, They have all gone astray, the apostasy is universal, there is no one who does good, not one. Whatever good is in any of the children of men, or is done by them, it is not of themselves. It is God’s work in them. When God had made the world He looked upon His own work, and all was very good (Gen. 1:31). But, some time after, he looked upon man’s work, and, behold, all was very bad (Gen. 6:5). Every thought of man’s heart was continually evil. They have gone aside from the way that leads to happiness, and have turned into the paths of the destroyer.
Let us lament the corruption of our own nature, examine our hearts and see what need we have of the grace of God. To convince sinners of the evil and danger of the way they are in, David shows them what they are not willing to see—their wickedness, their folly, and their danger. Yet they are apt to believe themselves to be very wise, good and safe.
Having a great deal to answer for
They are themselves workers of iniquity, designing it, practice it and take great pleasure in it. They eat up God’s people with as much greediness as they eat bread. It is meat and drink to persecutors to be causing trouble. They eat up God’s people easily, daily and without remorse when they have done it. Just as Joseph’s brothers cast him into a pit and then sat down to eat bread, Gen. 37:24, 25. Those who do not care for God’s people, or for God’s poor, do not care for God Himself. People run to all manner of wickedness because they do not call upon God for His grace.
What good can be expected from those who live without prayer? They have a great deal to answer for. They not only shake off belief in God themselves, but say and do what they can to put others of. Those who make fun of God’s people will find it is to their detriment. They have no knowledge, knowledge of God. This is obvious, for if they did rightly understand themselves they would not be so abusive and barbarous as they are to God’s people.
But we made a terror to themselves
Yet in as stated in verse 5: There were in great fear. Their own consciences condemned what they did, and filled them with secret terrors. They sweetly sucked the blood of the saints, but it turned into the venom of asps. There have been many instances of proud and cruel persecutors who have been made a—terror to themselves. Those who will not fear God perhaps may be made to fear at the shaking of a leaf.
David endeavours to comfort the people of God. They have God’s presence, He is in the generation of the righteous. They have His protection, The Lord is their refuge. This is as much their security as it is the terror of their enemies. They may jeer at them for their confidence in God, but cannot jeer them out of it. In the judgment-day it will add to the terror and confusion of sinners to see God own the righteous, which they have hated and mocked.
O that the Messiah would come
At the beginning of the Psalm David lamented at the general corruption of mankind. In this melancholy state he wishes for the salvation which is to be accomplished by the Redeemer. They hope for the salvation of Israel, Ps. 14:7. He was expected to come to Zion, to turn away ungodliness from Jacob, Rom. 11:26. The world is bad; O that the Messiah would come and change it!
Those will be as joyful times as these are melancholy ones. Then shall God turn away the captivity of His people. For the Redeemer shall ascend on high, and lead captivity captive, and Jacob shall then rejoice. The triumphs of Zion’s King will be the joys of Zion’s children. The second coming of Christ will finally extinguish the dominion of sin and Satan. It will be the completion of salvation, which is the hope, and will be the joy, of every one of God’s people. Despite the present suffering of the saints, we should be assured and should comfort ourselves and one another.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Practice Protection Fear no ill, for I have conquered all evil. It has no power For those who have placed themselves under My protection So never cower. This is not a question of feeling, it is an assured fact. All you have to do Is to say with assurance that whatever it is It cannot harm you. I have conquered it Be still this hour. Not only in the big, but in the little things of life. Be sure of My conquering Power. Know that all is well. Be sure of it. Practice this. Learn it until It is unfailing and instinctive with you. Yours is to walk and with Me climb the hill. But practice it in the quiet, small things; Those that would occasion you strife. Then you will find you will do it easily, naturally Lovingly and trustingly in the big things of life. By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Prayer for the Day
Father, I come to You. You alone have an all-seeing eye. May You see me as one who understands rightness. Stir me up to be a true seeker of You and always to set You before me in all my dealings and all my decisions. I know that whatever good is in me or done by me, is not of myself. It is Your work in me. Cause me to lament at the corruption of my own nature, to examine my heart and see what need I have of more of Your grace. I thank You that I have Your presence. You are in the midst of the generation of the righteous. I have Your protection, You are my refuge.
The world is bad. We long for Your coming. This will be a joyful time for You shall turn away the captivity of Your people. For the Redeemer shall ascend on high, and lead captivity captive, and Jacob shall then rejoice. Your triumphs will be our joy.
We long for the completion of our salvation, the second coming of Christ when all sin will be finally extinguished. This is the hope, and will be the joy, of every one of Your people. Despite the present distress in the world, may we be assured of this and comfort ourselves and one another. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.