“The fool says in his heart:
‘There is no God!’
They do what is wicked and corrupt.
No one does what is good.
Yahweh looks down from heaven
on the children of men,
to see whether there be one who is wise,
one who (still) inquires about God.” -Ps. 14.1-2
Though the world is filled with beauty, and though charity and generosity can be found in many venues, the truth of the human condition from the prophetic vantage point is radically opposed to the optimistic assumptions of modern men. Some scholars have used the phrase “prophetic pessimism” to describe the disposition of the prophets, and indeed that view comes out in the Psalms as well. It is the view of God Himself, who looked upon the earth in Noah’s day and grieved that he had even made man, for their hearts were “continually wicked.”
The great predicament of the lostness of man has been diluted in our day, and a great deal of modern sermonizing has driven the wedge of distortion even deeper. The prophet would declare that “no one does what is good.” The real issue is not that there is no way of escape from this predicament, but that man has chosen continually to say in his heart, and live life as if “there is no God.”
Where God is not present, there is no good deed either.
We are precariously perched until “the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” The psalmist declared that Yahweh is spanning the earth, looking for those who are inquiring about Him.
Whenever the Psalms speak of the heavenly throne of Yahweh and of the scrutinizing look of God, they always have in mind Yahweh’s office of judgment that is above all worlds….
(Psalms: A Continental commentary, Hans Joachim-Kraus; Fortress Press, 1993; pp. 221-222)
His “scrutinizing look” is often one of judgment, but only because men are living as if “there is no God.” His ultimate intention is to find those who are inquiring about Him, for He desires to reveal Himself to us, to set us free from the blandishments and bondages of the present age, and to bring us into His glorious Kingdom and way.
Am I inquiring about Him, or am I living and thinking as if there was no God?