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Summary: Psalms 14 and 53 are similar to each other, having only minor differences in the mode of expressing the same thoughts. This sermon studies the two passages in parallel, slightly enlarging the understanding of their combined content.

For Sermon Central researchers: I have posted a series of 15 sermons on the Psalms. In recent personal studies I have found the psalms to be richer and more thought-provoking than I had fully appreciated. I had too often swept swiftly through psalms without slowing down to inquire as thoroughly as I might have into the depths of meaning and feeling that are expressed by the psalmists. Upon deeper examination and reflection, I find the psalms to be highly relevant to Christians in every age. My most recent foray into the psalms led me to present a series of studies of selected psalms in a class environment.

In my classes I did not examine every psalm, or every verse of the ones I did. Rather, I presented selected psalms that I believe to be representative of the collection in the book of Psalms. The studies were held in a class environment suitable for pauses for questions and discussion, and to pose “thought questions” where the meanings are not readily apparent, as is often the case in poetry. My notes include suggested points for such pauses, and I have not removed them in Sermon Central posts.

I developed the material with the view in mind that the series may be well used as sermons. There is an introductory sermon that describes what psalms are (whether they are in the 150-chapter book or elsewhere) and explains my approach to the series. The psalms I selected were presented in no particular order in the classes; however, I suggest that anyone using this material as a series begin with the introductory sermon and follow it with Psalms 1 and 2 in that order, as the first two psalms function as a pair. Beyond that, the selected psalms may be presented in any order.

To get as much enjoyment as we could from our study, I did some of the reading from the KJV, which I believe is the most beautiful of the English bible translations. For clarity we also used other versions, mainly ESV, which I have used for several years and the one I have come to prefer.

Psalms 14 and 53

Read the psalms

I. Introduction

We will study the two psalms in parallel instead of one after another.

As always when we inquire into the sacred writings, we will be looking for our take-away - what are we intended to get from this?

In so doing, we will not analyze every word and phrase but will examine a couple of potentially confusing or ambiguous ones.

In addition to those, we need to figure out who the people are in this psalm.

To help with that, we will try to unravel some of the pronouns.

In our studies of the scriptures, we often come to verses that have pronouns which - by their nature - tend to be indefinite and must be resolved for us to understand what is being said.

I counted 18 pronouns in Psalm 14 and 23 in Psalm 53.

Most of the pronouns (37 out of 41) are in the third person (they, them, those, his people); i.e., someone other than you and me.

II. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

Does anyone here believe there is no God? Are there any atheists here?

No. So none of us are fools.

We do not need to spend time convincing any of you that there is a God, which you already believe.

But these psalms still have a lot for us to discuss, pertaining to those who do foolishly say, “There is no God.”

III. God looked down to see if any “understand and seek after God.”

None.

A breathtaking fact! Today the earth’s population is a little less than 8 billion.

At the time David lived there’s little reason to believe there were fewer than a few billion worldwide.

But there are none who “understand and seek after God.”

Is this different from the state of the world before the flood, as described in Genesis 6:12:

And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

Rampant sin led to a worldwide flood destroying all but Noah and his family.

Why should God save even those? The bible tells us:

Genesis 7:1 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.

After the floodwaters subsided, God put a rainbow in the clouds signifying a promise:

Genesis 7:1 - Never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.

We know why God repented of making man, and destroyed world’s people, save a few.

God looked down on the earth and saw corruption.

But do we know God’s thinking about re-booting the earth’s population, knowing – as he surely did – that the conditions described in these two psalms would simply return?

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