“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. (Ps. 53:1 ESV)

Did you ever get called a “fool” growing up or worse call someone else a fool and get in big trouble for it as a kid? I used to think it was a lighted-hearted word that you used when you were making fun of somebody or even myself if I did something dumb.

In Psalm 53 and Psalm 14, David is reflecting on the sinfulness of mankind and how we are affected by sin and far from God. It is only by the grace of God that man’s sins are forgiven and man can come into a relationship with God. (Eph. 2:8-9)

The Oxford Dictionary says a fool is a “person who acts unwisely or imprudently: a silly person.” That definition doesn’t make “fool” seem to be too harsh of a word, but, according to God, it has much deeper roots and has eternal consequences.  “In the Bible, foolishness is most often an ethical concept and goes beyond a lack of native intelligence” (Eerdmans Bible Dictionary). It’s much more than someone not being smart, or thinking they are too smart to believe in God. It has to do with a decision to live as if there is no God and believe there are no consequences for sin. That’s an eternal mistake.  

The Bible teaches us that God is the one who judges righteously and is able to see into man’s heart. It’s quite a different thing for us to use the word fool as just an unwise person, and for God to pronounce someone a fool who does not believe He exists. God’s word is full of counsel on how we are to live our lives in light of our knowledge of Him. God wants to reside in the center of our hearts. He is the one who can help us see through the deceitfulness and consequences of our sin and the folly of living life without Him. In Luke 12 in the story of the rich young ruler, we see a picture of a person who is not prepared to die and trying to hang on to the stuff he has accumulated in his life. God calls that the height of foolishness. God wants our hearts and lives to be focused on Him. Only He can shed light on foolish living and fill our hearts with His presence and wisdom.

by Jerry Hull

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