Psalm 14: poor in spirit
For the director of music. Of David.
(1)The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
(2)The LORD looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
(3)All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
(4)Do all these evildoers know nothing?
They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the LORD.
(5)But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous.
(6)You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge.
(7)Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!
David is frustrated. Can you tell?
He is so frustrated that he feels there is no more good in the world, no one who loves the Lord. His poem turns back around--like it usually does--to the goodness and faithfulness of God despite the evil all around him.
This particular psalm could have been written at any point in David's life, but especially when he was young in Saul's court. David and the Jewish people had peace at times later on in his life, but to a king like David, that peace is probably not what I would call peace. It's probably a peace still filled with worry and unknowns and self doubt bearing such a great responsibility.
The Hebrew word for fool in this psalm is "nabal." Do you remember that name? Read 1 Samuel 25 if you don't know the story. Nabal was a wealthy man who disrespected and dishonored a young David and his well known fighting soldiers. During those times, an act such as this could get all males (regardless of age) killed and all females, animals, and goods carried off. Not an uncommon thing to happen in the ancient world. In Samuel this very thing was moments from happening while Nabal partied away the evening oblivious to what was rounding the corner behind him...
Nabal was a fool.
David chose the word "nabal" on purpose in this psalm. He's not referring to people who struggle to understand God, who battle with doubts, and for sure he didn't mean those who never have the ability to love and accept God into their lives because of emotional or mental difficulties.
David refers to a fool who chooses to disregard God out of selfishness, conceit, pride; the "I am my own god" attitude. Those are the fools.
The fool says in his heart, "there is no God."
The fool doesn't just say "I've got this myself; I'm good" in his head, but he says it in his heart. What an empty place that must be.
This is an interesting idea when we love someone who doesn't believe. Right? The mind and the heart.
I once saw a debate between Bill Nye (the "Science guy") and Ken Ham (Creationist/Professor), two polar opposites when it comes to God and creation. After watching that, I came to realize that Bill Nye will never be persuaded that there is a God with his head. In his head, he has the world all figured out. During the debate, there were times when Ken tried to reach Bill's heart, but how does one get past a mind that has decided already?
Do you know someone who has reasoned away God with their mind? All is not lost, reach the heart.
Charles Spurgeon says this, "Let the preacher aim at the heart, and preach the all-conquering love of Jesus, and he will by God's grace win more doubters to the faith of the gospel than any hundred of the best reasoners who only direct their arguments to the head."
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
My friends, love wins over the heart.
Do you have an unbelieving neighbor or loved one? Jesus is the best example we've ever been given on what to do... love them, serve them.
God wants head and heart, of course. He sent Jesus to reach our hearts.
David goes on to speak of his people, the "poor," as he referred to others as the "fool."
This isn't the first time we've seen David refer to the Lord's people as the "poor." In the New Testament, we often hear the term "the poor in spirit."
What does this mean?
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"
"Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word."
Isaiah 66:2 (NIV)
or the KJV below...
"For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been," saith the Lord: "but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word."
Looking to his disciples, he [Jesus] said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Synonyms to the Biblical word "poor": contrite spirit, crushed spirit, brokenhearted, humility, fear of the Lord.
My words: the one who falls short, the sinner, the one who knows she's lost without Jesus!
Believe it or not, I found some understanding on Wikipedia! I usually only head there for dates and further research, but this is cool...
Scholars agree that "poor in spirit" does not mean lacking in spirit, be it courage, the Holy Spirit, or religious awareness. Rather it is that poverty is not only a physical condition, but also a spiritual one. In fact, the more self aware a person is of his or her spiritual poverty caused by the innate human condition of the sinful nature, the more one is humbly aware that they are "poor in spirit" left to his or her own way without Jesus Christ as Savior. Without Jesus the Christ alive and active in one's soul, it remains in a completely impoverished spiritual state; once a person declares Jesus as Lord and Savior of his or her life, Jesus sustains them through a daily renewing of their poor spirit:
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
Are you poor in spirit today?
Just give your heart to Jesus through a humble and broken spirit.
And let it all go....
Father in heaven, our spirits are broken today. We are broken by the news and state of our world, we are broken and relying upon you financially, and we are broken by worry and fear. We give this all to you, Father. There is nothing in this world that surprises you, that you have not seen before, or that you cannot handle. We know you will turn this trial into good. Heal this land, protect our loved ones, and strengthen Your church. Amen.