The [spiritually ignorant] fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”They are corrupt, they have committed repulsive and unspeakable deeds;There is no one who does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the children of menTo see if there are any who understand (act wisely),Who [truly] seek after God, [longing for His wisdom and guidance]. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;There is no one who does good, not even one. Have all the workers of wickedness and injustice no knowledge,Who eat up my people as they eat bread,And do not call upon the Lord? There they tremble with great fear,For God is with the [consistently] righteous generation. You [evildoers] shamefully plan against the poor,But the Lord is his safe refuge. Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!When the Lord restores His captive people,Then Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad.
Psalm 14: 1-7
Several years before his death, Nicolae Ceausescu, dictator of Romania, addressed the handpicked audience filling the five thousand-seat palace hall of Bucharest, the capital. The speech was beamed to the nation through the government-controlled television and radio networks.,
Ceausescu reviewed the efforts of his administration to stamp out the church and, satisfied with his progress, boldly declared; “Communism is like a young flower that will continue to unfurl its flowers for centuries to come. Within ten years we will outlive Christianity in Romania.”
Evidently he had not read, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1)
Not all atheists publicly declare themselves as did Ceausescu. Psalm 14 singles out the person whose conduct, not speech, evidences refusal to believe in God. The atheism is anonymous for the fool speaks not to an audience, “but in his heart.”
Whenever I act in a manner inconsistent with the character of God or His will for my life, at that moment I too become an anonymous atheist. My behavior only illustrates what I believe: “God, in this area of my life, I do not want you to exist. I will do my own thing.”
Romans1 magnifies Psalm 14: “What may be known about God is plain…..Claiming to be wise, they become fools….and….they did not see fit to acknowledge God.” (Romans 1: 19, 22, 28) The assertion, “There is no God,” whether made by verbal proclamation or silent behavioral choices, is treated in Scripture as an irresponsible gesture of defiance.
It is a huge misconception on the part of humans to think that God doesn’t see or know. Verse 2 says that He “looks down from heaven on the sons of men.” Nothing escapes His notice and He sees that “all have turned aside, they have together become corrupt, there is no one who does good, not even one.”
George Wood says: “Contemporary society labels the biblical teaching of human utter depravity as quaint and out of date. But God’s Word declares us sinners and our human condition hopelessly undone. Outside of Jesus Christ, God has given up on the human race and abandoned it because of its mortal folly and evil..”
The cross and the crucifixion of Christ makes no sense to those who believe that humans are inherently good. If, as some suppose, we are good and able to find the moral high ground, then all that Christ suffered was in vain. It is impossible to just categorize Him as a good teacher, or good person for He made it clear that He was to only way to eternal life. Josh McDowell says that those who attempt to relegate Christ as anything other than God must believe that He is either a liar or a lunatic.
Further to deny the truth that “we have all sinned” is to discard the Bible as a book of untruths. Paul reminds us that humanity left to its own ways finds itself sinking lower and lower into depravity and corruption.
Woods says, “Atheism cannot create a noble society or nation. As someone has said, ‘Without God man rots; without God society rots.’ When people act as though God does not exist, family and society disintegrate.”
Two accusations are brought against atheists: mistreatment of God’s people and the oppression of the poor. There is no question that “totalitarian despots” will have charges prepared against them on judgement day but is it not also true that when we push God out of our lives, we, too, will hurt God’s people.
George Wood says, “When self rather than God is on the throne, I am capable of treating others as bread to devour, satisfying my own needs rather than acting to nourish them. I am accountable to God for how I behave, and so are you.”
The only answer to the folly of denying God His proper place is to cry out for salvation. In Psalm 14 David cries out: “Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion. When the Lord restores the fortunes of His people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!”
And God heard and “in the fullness of time” sent His Son to redeem us.
George Wood writes, “A year and a half after the execution of Ceausescu by his own people, two young US Assemblies of God ministers greeted thousands who had gathered in the same palace hall where the late tyrant had promised the church’s obituary. They declared: ‘We are happy to say tonight that the man who predicted the death of Christianity within ten years is himself now dead and in the grave. But we are thankful that although the grass withers and the flowers fade, Jesus is alive in Romania.” The place exploded in a roar of approval. At the end of the service hundreds came forward to accept Christ as Savior.”
Psalm 14 reminds us that God is indeed alive and that one day “ every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” On that day, all without exception- including the devil, atheists, and all who have opposed God will be in that number. On that day all will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. Unfortunately, that day will be too late to claim Him as Savior.
Today, you and I have the opportunity to receive Him as Savior. We can give up our atheistic ways and surrender every part of our lives to God. We can bow before the throne of the Lamb and seat Him on the throne of our hearts. It’s really only a matter of time- now or then and those who are wise will choose now. The sad story of those like Ceausescu is they actually believe themselves to be lords over their lives and futures. We don’t have to be vocal atheists to think that way. Our conduct, behavior and actions reflect what we believe. Today would be a good day to come before Christ and invite Him to not only be Savior but to be Lord. I hope you will. It’ll be the best decision you’ve ever made.
Dr. John Thompson