“Only fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt and their actions are evil; not one of them does good.” – Psalm 14:1 (NLT)
“The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race; He looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!” – Psalm 14:2-3
It struck me as interesting when reading through this that corrupt was used twice by David, which got me wondering about the deeper meanings behind the uses. Interestingly enough, the two times that the word corrupt is used in this chapter, they are actually two different Hebrew words translated as the same thing (see Strong’s Concordance).
- Verse 1 – [H7843] To decay, ruin
- Verses 2-3 – [H444] To muddle; to corrupt
In the English language, corrupt means, “To alter from the original or correct version” (Webster’s dictionary).
Though both words have different applications, their messages carry a very similar application to each other. In verse 1, David is addressing those who claim that there is no God, those who believe this to be truth in their hearts. These people live in a state of ruin, and their hearts take root in the soil of decay. Their foolishness is their downfall, and they are nothing more than a walking corpse. They reject the very Truth that would bring them life, and instead they live a life of death. Their lives are like that of a corrupted battery that has been rendered useless because of the decay that has taken hold.
The corrupt that David addresses in verse 2-3, these are the ones who have taken the original message, the Truth in its purity, and they have twisted and distorted it. They have traded sanity and the simplicity of the Truth, and instead have taken the road of confusion, walking aimlessly with no heading or point of reference. Rather than having a proper, firm grounding in the Lord and His Word, they define what is true by the circumstances of their life in the moment. They are a ship without an anchor, being tossed by every wave of the world until they are pushed off course with no knowledge of where to go. So they continue to just “go with the flow” rather than rooting and anchoring themselves to that which will keep them from drifting off course.
We see quite a lot of this in the spheres of Christianity today. Rather than holding to the Truth of the Word, many have decided to let their circumstances define what is true. Rather than upholding the absolute truth of the Word of God, our culture views truth as relative to however they feel in the moment. But because they lack maturity and understanding, they continue to drift further and further away from that which is absolute. They drift further away from the One who is always and only firm. This continues until ultimately they find themselves in the first group, those who do not believe in God, so they turn to a life of ruin and decay.
This is the fate for all who are on this path, whether they reach the land of ruin and decay in this life, or in the life to come. But one way or another, they will all taste the sickness and death of decay.
While there is time, though, there is hope for these people. For not all have set out on this path. But there is a remnant which is rising in the earth that is remaining strong and firm on the absolute Truth of the Word of God, running to Him when they run into an unknown direction. They do not change the Truth based off their circumstances, but they run to the Truth because of the circumstances. Rather than defining the Truth based off of the moment, they recognize and define the moment by basing it all off of Truth.
“Terror will grip them, for God is with those who obey Him.” – Psalm 14:5