The fool says in his heart, “God does not exist.” They are corrupt; their actions are revolting. There is no one who does good. All have turned away; they have all become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one (Psalm 14: 1, 3; also see Rom. 1).
The mood of this piece is arrogant. The theme is total depravity—leaving God out of life. The motifs are materialism, secularism, exploitation, and corruption. The essence of living in the flesh is to live as if God doesn’t exist. I know of a former prominent evangelist who arrogantly decided to no longer call God his Father.
What happens when we leave God out of our lives? Psalm 14 graphically and poetically answers the question.
Denying God begins a downward progression. Suppressing the truth leads to idolatry, self-destructiveness, and gross immorality. Error replaces truth, behavior becomes totally depraved, and people are oppressed.
Apostates think they are wise, but they are fools. When we choose the foolish route of denying God, we end up in rebellion against God, in alienation from others, and in personal corruption because we have killed off the source of all love and meaning for our lives.
This psalm is discordant and dissonant until the last verse, when David returns to the theme of salvation. The Lord will restore the fortunes of his people and make them glad. We don’t need to be mannequins—lifeless and stripped of all love and meaning.
Heavenly Father, make me fully aware that it is your existence alone that fills my life with love and gives it meaning.