The Word Made Fresh
(For the worship leader: a psalm of David.)
1Fools think to themselves, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt and they behave badly.
None of them do anything good.
2The LORD gazes down on us from above
to search out those who are wise enough to seek God.
3But fools have all turned away and have been corrupted.
Not one of them does good, not a single one.
4Is it because they do not know anything,
these wicked ones who gobble up my people like bread,
and give no thought at all to the LORD?
5Don’t they know that their time will come
and they will be overwhelmed with fear,
because God is on the side of the righteous?
6They think they can take over whatever plans the poor have,
but they forget that the LORD is their hiding place.
7Let Israel’s rescue come from Zion!
Then, when the people’s fortunes are restored by the LORD,
Jacob will rejoice! Israel will celebrate!
Superscription: the 11th of the psalms of David.
1-4: Once again we are confronted with the proposition that evildoers are atheists. The reasoning is that if one believes in God, one is unlikely to engage in perpetual wickedness since the wrath of God is to be feared. The psalmist declares that all evildoers are unbelievers. Would it also be the case that all unbelievers are evildoers? The psalmist would probably agree to that as well, although altruism is a generally accepted virtue in our culture whether connected with religious beliefs or not. In verse 3, where the psalmist declares, “there is no one who does good,” he is referring to the class of unbelievers (the enemies of Israel, as we shall see at the end of the psalm), not to the entire human race.
5-6: Judgment is passed on the wicked. The wicked are the bane of the poor, and God is the defender of the poor.
7: Suddenly the psalm is turned into a plea for national deliverance. This makes it seem that the godlessness addressed in the first 6 verses is meant as a description of the enemies of Israel, not of individual sinners.
Many of the psalms are prayers for God to defend Israel. It is appropriate to continually seek God’s help for our own country, as long as we are indeed a god-fearing nation.