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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Psalms 14

Verses 1-7

The Unbelief of the Fool

Psalms 14:1

I. The fool of the Scripture is a man who has fallen away, little by little, degree by degree, until he is a degraded man. A fool is a vile man, morally degenerate. Here then is the full force of my text the man who says with an air of laughing and self-satisfied triumph 'There is no God,' is a vile man; at his heart there is moral rottenness; he is a fool! Why does the vile man say 'there is no God'? Because that is what the vile man wished to believe. The wish was 'father to the thought'. The tendency of sin is to make for unbelief, and much presumptuous scepticism may be traced to the violation of the moral law of God.

II. I do not wish to say that the fool arrives at his savage unbelief in a day. There are intermediate stages in this path of moral and spiritual degradation. Have we ever sufficiently marked that suggestive conjunction in the book of Isaiah where the sins of Israel are named and deplored, and where, after their rebellious acts have been all declared, God says, 'And thou hast been weary of me, O Israel'? One followed as the consequence of the other. A man becomes possessed of this feeling of religious weariness. His prayers are just long yawns. Then he begins to sceptically inquire about the use of prayer. A decision is easily reached that for him at any rate there is no use in prayer. But he cannot stop there. He needs must justify himself, and he finds the amplest and most comfortable justification in the more general statement that all prayer is useless. A man who has lost all belief in prayer to God will speedily pass to the judgment that there is no God to pray to. The man begins by defying God; he ends by denying Him. Uncleanness has worked to spiritual death.

J. H. Jowett, Apostolic Optimism, p. 196.

Psalms 14:0

Of all the senseless babble I have ever had occasion to read, the demonstration of these philosophers who undertake to tell us all about the nature of God would be the worst, if they were not surpassed by the still greater absurdities of the philosophers who try to prove that there is no God.


References. XIV. 1. G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p 35. J. H. Hitchens, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxvi. p. 424. Canon Henley Henson, The Value of the Bible, p. 113. W. Brock, Midsummer Morning Sermons, p. 21. International Critical Commentary, vol. i. p. 103. XIV. I. Williams, The Psalms Interpreted of Christ, p. 261. XV. 1. A. P. Stanley, Canterbury Sermons, p. 30. E. C. Wickham, Wellington College Sermons, p. 116.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Psalms 14". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. 1910.