Today’s reading (It’s great to be back home from vacation. Excited to jump back in the Word with you all!).
This is a bright, chipper psalm to start back up again with. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good” (53:1).
Now, we read that last line, “there is none who does good,” and we just assume that it has to mean that none of the fools do good. Right? We wouldn’t really say no one does good. Would God say so?
Verses two and three answer that question. God looks down from heaven, searching for anyone who seeks him, and he comes to the conclusion that everyone has fallen away and become corrupt. “There is none who does good, not even one” (53:3).
We don’t typically behave as if this were the case, as if the divine verdict were true. We tend to make excuses for God, as if his way of viewing the world is a little too black and white. “Maybe no one is good,” we say in our hearts, “but a lot of us down here are ok.”
No, God says. You’re not.
Part of seeking after God is recognizing our utter dependence upon him, admitting the fact that we don’t have anything to hide from him, that we don’t have anything to add to him, that we don’t have any strength in ourselves with which to follow him. In this psalm, the author—along with the rest of the faithful—are being afflicted by evil men who “eat up [God’s] people as they eat bread” (53:4). The suffering God’s people inevitably undergo is meant to teach us to empty ourselves of self-reliance and depend utterly upon the Lord.
God wants us to cry out for salvation as the psalmist does in verse six. He wants us to understand that we have no hope at all in this world. All our hope lies with the Lord. Our hearts should yearn for his salvation from the trials and temptations of this world.
And then we should remember and rejoice. We have the salvation “out of Zion” that the psalmist longed for. In Christ, we have been delivered from sin and brought near to the God we chose to forsake. By his grace, love and mercy toward us, we have been delivered from the deepest affliction of our sin.
Now, we long for the Day when that salvation will be complete. We have been saved, but we are still being saved. We still suffer affliction and temptation. We long for the Day when we will see our Lord face to face, when he will wipe away every tear, when he will put to rights every wrong that has been done. Having been saved, we long for the Day when we will fully and finally be saved. So, we say, “Come, Lord Jesus.”