Will Moral Corruption Swallow Us Alive?

The content of Psalm 14 is repeated three times in the Old and New Testament, once with commentary. (See also Psalm 53, Romans 3, and Romans 1.) How should we respond to increasing moral corruption?

The Cause of Moral Corruption (Psalm 14:1)

The problem of fools lies more in the heart than the head. It is not a matter of ignorance, because the human heart intuitively knows there is a god to whom we are morally responsible. The fool may or may not be a philosophical atheist, but he or she lives as one. Another wording for what the fool says in his heart is "no God for me, thank you very much." Fools are fully committed to their own self-interest with no remorse. They create a pathway to do whatever they want and rationalize wrong deeds to avoid feeling guilt. The meaning of the word "fool" is pictured in the story of Nabal in 1 Samuel 25:2-38.

What makes such people fools? They are willfully blinded to their own irrationality (Romans 1:14-32). James Montgomery Boice says,

"If a person knew categorically in fact there was no god and said so, he would be wise and perhaps courageous for standing against the nearly universal but mistaken opinions of humans who believe there is a god. If he genuinely did not know whether there was a god and said so, he would at least be an honest skeptic or an agnostic. If a person is merely convinced there is no god when there in fact is one, then he is merely mistaken. But none of these is the case in the book of Romans. What is so foolish is that he or she knows there is a god and yet chooses to act and believe as if there is none."

This psalm gives a warning for refusing to recognize God. Rejection of Him is the height of folly. Romans 1 identifies the motivation of this attitude as the appetites, all of which are God-given, but become lusts when allowed to go wild in one's life. The cause of moral corruption is found in man's character.

The Assessment of Moral Corruption (Psalm 14:2-3)

David assesses corruption in verse 1. The Hebrew word for corruption conjures up the smell and taste of soured milk.

God's assessment is given in verses 2-3. It is universal and has devastating results. He sovereignly views all of humanity, yet is interested in each individual's choice to seek Him. Fools choose to turn aside from God's perfect way. Between the witness of general revelation and God's written Word, it's actually hard work to be consistently foolish! Yet the majority of people have chosen to do so "together" in solidarity.

The Cure for Moral Corruption (Psalm 14:4-7)

The wicked want to eliminate the righteous, but God is not idle forever. He offers protection from complete moral corruption and a promise that He will one day do away with all corruption.

As the church, our role is not to take vengeance, but we vindicate God's name by recruiting the wicked for our team! We befriend lost people and view them with pity, not anger, desiring to see them convert to one of God's righteous family. We can look with pity because we remember our own corruption which we still fight against. We are gracious while telling and living the truth.

Dread will finally come for fools, as it did for Nabal. The righteous have a promise of preservation (verses 5-6). We have a kingdom to look forward to, the hope of the church (Isaiah 32:1-7).

Application Points

  • Have you ever acknowledged God in your life? It is not enough to believe that He exists; He also has a claim on how you live. If your life is about serving yourself, it will be chaotic and confusing. You need a new boss, and Jesus is the only one worthy of that role. Please give your life to Him today!
  • God's Word identifies the cause of moral corruption in our own lives and in our society: self-interest and appetites gone wild. In what areas do you live with an attitude of "no god for me, thank you"? Let's be honest about our problem and work at becoming like Christ. Don't exchange holiness for rationalizing what you want to do. Walk with Jesus and deal with your sin.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Psalm 19, Romans 2:14-16 – The human heart intuitively knows there is a god to whom we are morally responsible.
A Hymn to Encourage: "What Grace Is Mine"

What grace is mine, that He who dwells in endless light
Called through the night to find my distant soul,
And from his scars poured mercy that would plead for me
That I might live and in his name be known.

So I will go wherever He is calling me;
I lose my life to find my life in Him.
I give my all to gain the hope that never dies;
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him.

What grace is mine, to know His breath alive in me;
Beneath his wings my wakened soul may soar.
All fear can flee, for death’s dark night is overcome;
My Saviour lives and reigns forevermore!

Lyrics Copyright © 2008 Gettymusic/Adm. by Music Services, Brentwood, TN