Even the Foolish
As I meditate on Psalm 94, the following words continue to echo in my ears:
1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. 2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
These words may sound familiar as they are the opening verses of Psalm 14. These two verses convey, in summary, the message communicated by the Psalmist in today’s text. It is striking how the psalmist’s prayer to God in vss. 1-7 pivots to an appeal to the very persons about whom the writer makes his petition. It’s been said that one should never try to reason with fools or the foolish, yet this is precisely what the psalmist does. “To what end does he do this?” you might ask. Perhaps it is because everyone, no matter how deviant in their behavior or distant from God they have been, remains a candidate for redemption as long as they are alive. We, as messengers of the Most High, are called to speak the truth in love, not to judge who is worthy of hearing it… not to judge who is worthy of receiving it… and certainly not to prophesy who will and will not be changed.
As I rehearse this psalm, the words of another messenger of God come to mind. Just as in Psalm 94, his message goes out to a people that has acted foolishly, in utter disregard of their God. Yet, because they too are candidates for redemption, the prophet extends an olive branch on behalf of the Lord. Hear the words of Isaiah 1:18-20:
18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Let Us Pray
Lord God, we acknowledge that we, like all people, have sinned and fallen short of your grace and glory. Yet, Lord, you forgive. You forgive us with an unfailing love. Lord God, we pray that just as you have been merciful to us, help us to be forever merciful and forgiving of others.