The gospel in a psalm.

Psalm 14

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.“ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

Will evildoers never learn— those who devour my people as men eat bread and who do not call on the LORD? There they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous.You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge.

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!

Psalm 14 seems to have the whole gospel in a psalm. It begins with a description of those who say there is no God. It is a picture of corruption and evil. We think that then, this must have been a vast minority, even now it is a minority. How can they, we ask, say there is no God?  Well, the next two verses expand the picture. From all the sons of men (all of humankind), all have turned away from Him. They are all acting as if they say there is no God. They have all gone astray. There is not even one who is earnestly seeking God, no-one who does good.

But God is still there. He claims to have a people, and he claims to be a refuge for the poor, who are surrounded by challenges.

It ends with a note of longing and hope. Salvation will come for Israel (God’s people), from Zion! What is Zion –  God’s Holy City. God will restore his people and then all Israel will be glad.

So in the psalm, we have all people going astray, but God keeping is promise of a people set aside for him. Through future salvation, God will restore his people by enabling them to come back to him. With a New Testament perspective, we see that this has happened in Jesus. He has come from God’s Holy City to call all people to him. Centred on Jesus, the fortunes of these people are restored, their salvation is complete, and all of Israel, the new Israel comprising of Jew and Gentile, can be glad.

If we meditate on this psalm, we can come to an awareness of our failing to seek God whole-heartedly – do we often live as if there is no God? Is my whole life and my desires centred around glorifying Him? Even as Christians who know that God is good, how foolish we can be. But we can also be encouraged by God’s grace, love, and protection in bringing us back to him.


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