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The Free-Thinking Fool

By Scott Masson/ August 2, 2015

Series  Meditations on the Psalms

Context  Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic  Theology

Scripture  Psalms 14

Atheism is more than merely the absence of belief in God, it is the presence of a state of being in which the revelation of God's existence evokes anger and rebellion instead of relief and repentance.

Scripture: Psalm 14, 1 Samuel 25:2-35

Sermon notes:

  1. A psalm of David, but doesn't appear to reflect on a particular experience of his, speaking more generally on the condition of mankind.
  2. The fool is made the antithesis of the person of wisdom (the person of Psalm 1). Psalm 14 describes the path of folly rather than of wisdom.
  3. David is perplexed and horrified by what the fool represents. He is struck by the abominable corruption of the sons of man.
  4. We live in dark days. The psalm reminds us that before the day comes, the night is at its darkest. Don’t make common cause with someone blaspheming the providence of God, but rather use Psalm 14 as an intercessory prayer to set our minds and hearts right.
  5. The Hebrew text renders the first line of the psalm more like 'No, God!' It is not a theoretical postulate that God might not exist but rather he is saying he will act as though God does not exist knowing full well He does. This is a position of utmost folly.
  6. The word folly is harsh; perhaps we could be more diplomatic? Wouldn't we call that person an agnostic or skeptic? The psalmist doesn't treat it anything like this. Paul's exposition of this passage in Romans 1:18ff agrees with the psalmist’s description.
  7. The motive of the fool is given in Romans 1:18ff; by their unrighteousness they suppress the truth. Because of man's wickedness and hatred towards God, he wants to deny God, and the very thought of God's existence is offensive. God is everything we are not and everything we would like to be. God’s holiness magnifies their own sin.
  8. The Hebrew language has many words to describe the fool. But the one used here is very evocative: nabal. And Abigail's husband bore that name.
  9.  In Nabal’s actions what he does is what is in his heart. And we know a person by their actions just as we know God by His.
  10. Holiness is not a matter of eating and drinking, as it were, e.g. washing our hands and avoiding certain foods. The problem is our impure hearts. The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart and these defile a person (Matt. 15:10-20).
  11.  We have a heart problem that can’t be fixed by putting a valve in there. The will is utterly corrupt. We need a transplant.
  12. Mankind as a whole is under judgment. The fool represents every man, David included. In other words we are all fools – all people in their natural and unrepentant state are fools. Apart from the wisdom of God we are all complicit and all fools.
  13. As a society we have allowed organizations like Planned Parenthood; we are all complicit in this. We elect officials that will not guard those lives. We have the power to vote and hold our officials responsible. Have we done so? Sitting silent in the face of evil is the depravity of man.
  14. This is all in the text. If you cannot accept this, then you cannot accept what Christ has done for you. The good news is Christ calls you a sinner and He has the power to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15).
  15. Apart from the Spirit which illuminates the heart we cannot see or do anything good.
  16. We have sinned against the Lord. None of us does good. But Jesus bought us with His precious blood and atones for us with His righteous life. God makes foolish the wisdom of the world and gives us Jesus. He is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. He is our sanctification. And He has given Himself to us at the communion table.

Application questions:

  1. How have we been living as sinners and fools, denying the truth of God and His Word?
  2. How will we respond to the folly around and within us?