By Joseph Diop
Copyright © 2017 by Joseph Diop
The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. Psalm 14:1; 53:1
Is that right? I mean, is that verse correct? You say, brother Joseph, surely you know that all of God’s word is right. And I say, all of GOD’S word is right. But the foregoing verse, has slipped in under the radar some of man’s word. There is such a thing called editorial license. And sometimes, meaning to be helpful, our translators add just a bit, thinking they are making the meaning clearer and more comprehensible. But, with integrity, they do leave behind tracks to let you know that they have done so. And, in the case of the King James translators, those tracks are marked with the words being printed in italics. In the foregoing verse, the words in italics are “There is.” So, leaving out the words in italics that the translators added, the actual correct translation is this, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘No,’ God.”
Can you imagine the outrageous audacity, the unmitigated gall, the idiotic, delusional, unthinking lunacy of someone who would look in the face of the Eternal, Almighty, Omnipotent Creator of the universe, and tell Him a flat-out “No.” Well, don’t get too smug on your high horse yet, because, essentially we ALL do it all times. And, there is a formal name for that. The Bible calls it simply, “sin.”
But you say, who could look God in His face and say, “No.” That’s just it. We can do it all the time, because there seemingly are so many things to hide behind. There are crowds of people. Like teenagers, we tell God, “But everybody’s doing it.” There are loads of activity, and we simply hide behind our busyness. There are vital relationships. And, we get ourselves lost and distracted attending to those. And, most conveniently, there seems to be plenty of darkness in our own hearts, so we cover our faces in that, thinking to avoid eye contact with God. Yes, there are plenty of effectual opportunities in life for anyone looking to duck and dodge their responsibility to their Maker. But someday, the bill will come due. And then, quite literally, there will be hell to pay. The Lord made that point abundantly clear in the parable of the AWOL servants.
16 Then [JESUS] said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17 and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 18 But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’” Luke 14:16-24
Beloved, don’t be like those men who were full of excuses. Don’t tell God, “No.” We may surmise from our texts, Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1, that the very definition of a ‘fool’ is someone who says “No” to God. And, in that case, we are ALL quite foolish. As Psalms 14 and 53 go on to say, “There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (vs 3). In Romans 3, Paul picks up from there and quotes a whole bunch of other things that the Word reports negatively about us.
10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” 13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; 14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Ahh!! What a bad report on humanity! But beloved, this includes us, the Church today.
Oh, I know that we don’t like to hear such a gloomy and negative message, but the only way to clear our eyes and get us to the place where we are much more mindful and attentive to amend our ways is to report the hard, cold, harsh reality of truth. The only way to get us to a state where we are truly repentant is to hold up the mirror of the God’s Word of truth to our faces and to say, “Take a good hard look. Do you like what you see?” The very basic meaning of ‘repent’ is “to change the mind.” Sin has left us with a default response to God of “No.” When we exercised our original and foundational repentance, we changed our minds and said to God “Yes,” instead. But, the tide of sin in the world around us, and the weakness of our own souls, have left us with a world of excuses. We have backslidden in our hearts, and said “No” again, in many areas. And thus, is the testimony of God’s word against us:
16 For [my people] slideth back as a backsliding heifer… Hosea 4:6
22 “For my people are foolish, they do not know me; they are stupid children, they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil, but do not know how to do good.” Jeremiah 4:22 NRSV
15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush. Therefore, they shall fall among them that fall. At the time that I visit them they shall be cast down… 16 Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, [No!] We will not walk therein. 17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, [No!] We will not hearken. Jeremiah 6:15-17, italics mine
7 I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people since they return not from their ways. Jeremiah 15:7
Beloved, this is us, God’s people. We, the Church, the family of faith made up of Jews, and Gentiles, and all nations of people who have faith in Christ Jesus, have left God reporting such a sad and mournful testimony. This is what the Spirit of God is saying to whoever has ears to hear. Will you take the message to heart, and repent? Or, will you remain foolish, and go on with a thousand excuses saying “No” to God? Think about it. Selah. Maranatha. Amen.