Your Kingdom Come

Psalm 53

Begins with statement about the “fool”, the professed atheist. Then follows word “God” 7 times. Same word used “in the beginning” – Gen. 1:1 – creator God. Perhaps significant, giving different focus from Psalm 14: mixed use of Yahweh/Elohim there, Elohim solely here.

Yahweh draws attention to special relationship God has with his people, covenantal nature; suggests closer focus on Jews. Those living as part of covenant community who still say “there is no God” must truly be fools.

Elohim identifies as “creator God”, one who should be recognized by all mankind whether Jew or Gentile. It’s not only in personal relationship that clear testimony to existence of God may be observed; witness is all around. Brings to same conclusion: fools.

Both psalms, similarities and differences, could have been in Paul’s thought when he penned Rom. 3:10-13; making the powerful case that, despite obvious advantages, no real difference between Jew and Gentile.

Careful reading of this psalm should produce several results:

understand it was God’s grace, not your genius if you are no longer a practical atheist (one who lives as if there were no sovereign God)

recognize the scope of problem – it’s not just the really bad people who are this way

grasp more fully why unregenerate think/act as they do; consequently – in light of that, how to do evangelism

Atheism not a new sin, more culturally acceptable now than in other generations (like so many other beliefs and behaviors). Temptation to grade atheism on scale: Communists and North Koreans and Michael Newdow really bad sinners because of anti-religious action coupled with atheism. Nice neighbor and tolerant family who refuse to acknowledge God but don’t interfere with others’ religious expression much less offensive sinners.

“There is too much dainty dealing nowadays with atheism; it is not a harmless error, it is an offensive, putrid sin, and righteous men should look upon it in that light.” CHS

Important to remember as we work through text: God’s charge against mankind not stupidity or ignorance. It is charge of shameless wickedness

A. depravity described v.1-3

not necessary an intellectual conclusion, rather an assertion, a declaration (1a)

“the heart is the spiritual center of our soul (In Scripture the heart is the spiritual center of the embodied human soul. Krabbendam, Sovereignty, 61), the command and control center of our life.

actual belief probably more like – no God who has authority over me

true of many who claim belief in some kind of “higher power” (Stephen King quote)

must act rationally enough to assert existence of something, but within strict boundaries

whatever God there is made according to man’s image or imagining

even one who refuses to believe in God as revealed in Bible cannot escape God revealed in creation

quote from Dostoyevsky (1b)

represents strong dislike, distaste for God – child, disobeyed mom/dad, who do they not want to be near

denies God so as to better / more easily justify satisfying sinful desires

universal problem (1c-3)

don’t do good/right (1c)

we must think in same categories from same perspective as God: what is good and right in his eyes?

answer: that which in both motive and deed pleases God – loving obedience

by God’s grace, brings good out of what is not good – uses what does not meet his definition of good to bless his people

should thank him for his goodness, not change our definition

don’t think right (2a)

lack the ability to view the world and their surroundings, then properly connect the dots

have worldview corrupted by: original sin, actual sin

means their way of thinking, putting pieces together doesn’t match reality; regularly fail to reason to right conclusions

e.g., identify a problem correctly, assign wrong source and/or wrong solution

guns in school a problem – too easy to obtain – need more restrictive laws
problem – lack of parental authority and respect – bring Gospel/Bible to bear on parents

don’t desire right (2b-3a)

no desire to do right by God’s standard; aren’t really seeking God – at best only his benefits but without his terms

in fact, don’t even do the good they know to do; sin, aka missing the mark, not even aiming toward the target (3a)

no exceptions (3b)

atheist uses this as proof God doesn’t exist – prevalence of evil, corruption; God doesn’t agree

Paul uses this argument (Rom. 3:10ff) to show absolutely hopeless condition of all mankind

impossible to save ourselves; cannot count on savior coming from among us (none righteous) – must be one of us but come from “away”, the God-man

B. destruction foretold v.4-5

don’t they get it? (4)

in a word, no: must live inconsistently – worldview out-of-sync with reality; more out-of-sync, more inconsistent

willful denial or distortion of the truth – know enough truth to be guilty but… refuse to submit to it

live in irrational fear (5a)

fearing what doesn’t exist in reality – see 2 Kings 7:5-7 – hallucinating, sound of great army, ran away

incessant what-ifs can be as paralyzing as irrational fear; prevents moving forward in faith

thoroughly overcome / defeated by power of God (5b)

does use agents at times – “you have put them to shame”; note the “because” – God has despised

source of great comfort for people of God: those who deny God ultimately will fail because God says so

will turn out that way regardless of the “odds”, how it may appear to believers

God rejects those who reject him (5c)

not just an OT thing: Matt. 10:32-33

not simple slap on the wrist; either-or, heaven or hell, forever; we tend to view sin on a curve – sense in which it is true, in bigger sense it isn’t

unforgiven sin will result in eternal separation from God; rejection of God in life results in rejection of individual from heaven

C. deliverance sought v.6

“Would God the final battle were well over'” CHS

rescue (6a) “salvation (deliverance) of Israel”

come out of your house and rescue us from our enemies; put your plan in action so we can see the progress

restoration (6b) “bring back the captivity” or “restores the well-being”

things aren’t as they should be, world and all in it is broken; believers are being restored, long for remainder of creation to be restored/set right

rejoicing (6c)

God’s people rejoice when he is exalted – his goodness and mercy toward his people, his righteousness and justice toward his enemies on open display

same cry as heard when fifth seal was opened: Rev. 6:9-11

perceived inaction on God’s part not: disinterested, frustrated, powerless

takes action against his people personally, as if directed at himself: Isa. 49:14-16; Acts 9:4

how can I forget you? “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands”

“Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

will move decisively and finally at time he has appointed

Eph. 1:10And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ–everything in heaven and on earth. NLT

D. doing our part

speak the truth, don’t defend it or try to prove it – Sword doesn’t need defending; besides, everyone knows some truth, that’s why Genesis assumes existence of God

begin at the beginning – absent right understanding/acceptance of God, nothing else is right; must be sure to use same dictionary

our job is to witness, not convert – then to teach those who have been called by Word and Spirit

recognize unbeliever is blind, not stupid – personal willful blindness exacerbated by sin and Satan

true whether talking about Gospel truth or situations in everyday life; he’s looking at all of life thru wrong glasses

but for God’s grace, we would be just like them or worse

only one proper response: having experienced his grace in regeneration – acknowledge him Lord and King, bow down and worship him with all our being

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