June 16, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Michael Kang, Gracepoint San Diego

Psalm 14:1

• Why is not acknowledging God the ultimate foolishness? Not acknowledging God is the ultimate foolishness because you are denying the greatest part of reality that there is. You are denying the source of all life, the creator of the universe, and you are denying your very own source of existence and salvation. It is ultimately human pride that refuses to acknowledge God and tries to deny or ignore His existence, so that a person can become their own god and not have to deal with a higher authority.

• What link does this passage make between denying God and personal corruption? This passage is saying that those who deny God are also corrupt and that their deeds are vile. Denying God’s existence becomes a convenient way to authorize whatever corrupt or vile deeds someone wants to do, because there is no longer any authority to say that it is wrong. Without God, people can define their own morality and standards and continue to maintain a positive picture of themselves, to themselves, even while engaging in evil. It’s a feedback loop, as personal corruption leads one to deny God, and then the denial of God opens the door to greater corruption.
Psalm 14:2-3
• What can be learned about God’s heart from the fact that he “looks down from heaven…to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God?”
It shows that God cares about people, that He is supremely interested in whether or not they will acknowledge and seek Him and reciprocate His desire for relationship. He is not a distant and aloof God, who has ignored or forsaken man, but He is searching for those who would commit to Him and who want to relate to Him. Even in the midst of a world full of people who have turned aside and gone astray, His heart is like the heart of a waiting Father, of a spurned Lover.
• How much do I agree with the assessment of mankind in v.3? This assessment is very true, because the world has gone far astray from God, and so much of mankind’s activity is completely corrupt and turned aside from Him. People are filled with the pursuit of idols and sins and completely disregard God and His commands and values and ideals — that is the norm. Even when people do “good” things, they are motivated by selfish reasons and their acts are still tainted by sin. Even the prophet Isaiah became undone before the holy presence and perfect standard of God. No one can claim that they are righteous or good before Him — it’s all filthy rags. I know that this is true because even my own attempts to do good are beset by sin, and also if it were not for God, I would not be attempting anything outside of my basic self-centered stance in the first place.

• How do I see myself in light of this truth? In light of this truth, I must see myself also as someone who is deeply corrupted and broken inside. I have my fill of selfishness, greed, lust, idolatry, and many other sins within my heart, and these manifest in my life as well. I cannot claim any righteousness or goodness on my own apart from God.  In fact, when I try to hold or present a positive image or view of myself, I am effectively having to deny God in some way – I need to trick myself into thinking that God doesn’t see or that He doesn’t care, that my inner motivations and thoughts and desires are actually hidden or can be excused and I can present this nice outer package for people to see.

Psalm 14:4-5
• Why are the evildoers “overwhelmed with dread?” They are overwhelmed with dread because they see that God is not absent or nonexistent, but actually He is present, in the company of the righteous. Despite their attempts to deny God, they probably know deep down that God is really there and they know what He must think of their actions and life.
To be in the company of the righteous, and to have God present for the world to see – that is a powerful witness. For the watching world, the righteous experience and have what they are sorely missing: the freedom of a clear conscience, forgiveness of sins, the knowledge of and relationship with God the Father, the fellowship of that company. This is a picture of what we should create here in this church, so that those who are far from God can see this and then be brought out of their foolishness and see that there is a group of people who are experiencing joy and peace and meaning and purpose, and living apart from the vile deeds of the world. We have the opportunity to show that there is an alternative lifestyle to the lifestyle of the foolish who say there is no God.

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