For the director of music. Of David.
1 The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.
2 The Lord looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.
4 Do all these evildoers know nothing?
They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on the Lord.
5 But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
for God is present in the company of the righteous.
6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
but the Lord is their refuge.
7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!
Do you ever dream of escaping the daily grind? Do you ever dream of getting away from all the frustrations of life? Do you long for something better than this world offers?
Psalm 14 knows that longing we all feel. It finishes on exactly that note. Longing for something better. Longing for salvation. Longing for restoration. Restoration which brings the gladness Israel is longing for. Restoration which brings the joy we are all longing for.
Psalm 14 is a lot like the “bad news/good news” scenario we saw in Psalm 10. Just as Apostle Paul quoted from Psalm 10 to paint his picture of our sin in Romans 3:10-18, the very first brushstroke of that picture was a quote from Psalm 14 verse 3. This Psalm makes explicit what was only hinted at in Psalm 10: each one of us is the wicked person, the corrupt person of the Psalms. If we’re wondering who the unbelieving fool of verse 1 is, verse 3 soon settles the matter: it’s every single one of us.
We saw how Romans 3 answers the cry for salvation of such Psalms: Jesus’ death has brought that salvation. But what about the restoration also longed for in verse 7? What about that better world we all long for? Apostle Paul picks up that theme in Romans 8:18-28. He pictures us groaning for the restoration that Jesus will soon bring to this world. He pictures the whole creation groaning, longing for that restoration. He says that Jesus’ death and resurrection makes that restoration certain.
This is what we call the “now but not yet” of Christian living. We rejoice in what is now: salvation from sin and death through Jesus. Yet suffering and frustration are also still present now, so we rejoice in what is not yet: the complete restoration of this world Jesus will bring when he returns. We are right to long for something better, yet only Jesus – nothing in this world – will satisfy that longing.
Head: What have you learnt about Jesus from Psalm 14? What have you learnt about yourself?
Heart: What things do you most struggle with in this world? How does it make you feel that Jesus will bring complete restoration to this world?
Hands: What might you do instead when you’re tempted to escape this world?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus. Thank you that Jesus and only Jesus satisfies. Please strengthen me when I’m tempted to escape this world to turn instead to the one who will restore it. Help me today, even in the frustrations it may bring, to grow in my love for Jesus as the one who will bring an end to that frustration when he finally restores this world. Please help me to embrace the restoration that is to come, and to find in it the strength to face the challenges of today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.