The Character of the Wicked in the Sight of Jehovah
The Character of the Wicked in the Sight of Jehovah
Psalm 14. This is another Psalm of David, and it is very similar (almost identical) to Psalm 53, the main difference being that Psalm 14 is Jehovahistic, and Psalm 53 is Elohistic, in keeping with the character of the second book. The fourteenth Psalm presents the character of the wicked in the sight of Jehovah. Prophetically, this psalm gives us an assessment of the apostate nation of Israel, made by the faithful remnant, followed by a prayer to Jehovah in which the faithful long for the time of His salvation. Psalm 10 gives us the character of Antichrist, and Psalm 14 gives us the character of his followers.
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
They have corrupted themselves, they have done abominable works: there is none that doeth good.
2 Jehovah looked down from the heavens upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
3 “They have all gone aside, they are together become corrupt: there is none that doeth good, not even one.” [quoted Rom. 3:11-12]
vv.1-3 The Atheistic Character of the Wicked. These verses bring out the character of the wicked as “the fool”. In v.1a we find that the wicked live without reference to God; “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” While this is prophetic of the circumstances in Israel in the time of antichrist (who himself is called a “foolish shepherd”, Zech. 11:15), morally this is true of men even today who live without reference to God. The apostasy that will be full blown in a future day has already begun. In v.1b we find the results of living without reference to God; “They have corrupted themselves, they have done abominable works: there is none that doeth good”. Atheists argue that man can have morals without reference to God, but this is false – and Psalm 14 shows that. As in Gen. 6:5 and 11:5, again “Jehovah looked down from the heavens upon the children of men”. He looked to see if there were “any that did understand, that did seek God”. The conclusion? “They have all gone aside, they are together become corrupt, etc.” The apostle Paul quotes this in Romans 3 to establish the lost condition of man, but especially of the Jews. Prophetically “the fool” might be the antichrist (individual), and “they” are the apostate Jews who follow antichrist.
4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, eating up my people as they eat bread? They call not upon Jehovah.
5 There were they in great fear; for God is in the generation of the righteous.
6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the afflicted, because Jehovah was his refuge.
vv.4-6 The Error of the Wicked. The “workers of iniquity” really are insensible to Jehovah and His claims. This led them to abuse and consume (“eat”) the Lord’s people; i.e. the faithful Jews. They “call not upon Jehovah” because they have abandoned true worship and instead worship the beast and antichrist. But though they say “there is no God”, the wicked are still in “great fear” when persecuting the faithful, because “God is in the generation of the righteous”.1 The psalmist remarks on the irony of the fear that that wicked experience, because just before they had scorned the faithful (“the counsel of the afflicted”) because they trusted in Jehovah as their refuge!2
7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When Jehovah turneth again the captivity of his people, Jacob shall be glad, Israel shall rejoice.
v.7 The hope of the remnant. The remnant is looking forward to “the salvation of Israel” – a reference to the Messiah Himself – to come out of Zion (Zech. 14:3; Amos 3:16). When the Lord appears, then the restoration of Israel will occur; not just of the two tribes, but also the ten tribes. The expression “turneth the captivity” refers to a full return of Israel, not the partial return under Zerubbabel, nor that under Nehemiah, but that of the future, under Messiah.3 When their proper national hopes are realized, “Jacob shall be glad, Israel shall rejoice”. When the Lord roars out of Zion, He will already have restored His people. He comes to Zion to restore them, and He will come out of Zion to judge His enemies at the winepress judgment!
- Not only so, but God Himself is in the generation of the righteous. There is an influence produced by the presence of God with the righteous, which the enemies of Jehovah feel, and which in the righteous is known only by faith. We may see an example in what Rahab evidently saw among the Canaanites; Joshua 2:9. The same feeling is referred to in Philippians 1:28. This feeling of fear, in those who oppose the truth, may be accompanied with boasting and violence; but when faith has confidence in Jehovah, the wicked, even if they succeed, have always fear. So the Jews, even when they had crucified Christ, feared lest, after all, His absence from the tomb should make matters worse than before, But there must be the sense of God’s presence for the righteous to be thus sustained. – Darby, J.N. Practical Reflections on the Psalms.
- Fear falls upon the proud, who but a while ago were scorning the poor for trusting Jehovah. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
- See J.N. Darby translation note, Psa. 126:1