Saturday, March 24, 2018

Their Refuge

Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God.
They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon the Lord?
There they shall be in great terror, for God is with the company of the righteous.
You would confound the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge.
O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.
 
—Psalm 14

I'm inclined to think of an atheist as a person who doesn't believe in God. But I think the kind of atheist the psalms talk about—especially Psalm 14—is the person who truly lives their life as though there is no God to be accountable to. Those who say they're non-believers may yet live ethical lives, and even work for peace and justice in the world. I can respect such people. But what of the person who says they're a believer and yet amasses great wealth and stockpiles of weapons, who promotes inequality and warfare, and who says vile things about those they disagree with?

Our country is currently being run by an extreme group of atheists who use the word "god" to make their horrible deeds acceptable to the masses. But just as the psalmist didn't despair, so I should have hope, too. This atheistic dictatorship won't last forever. However, deliverance won't come from human schemes, but from Zion. And the Christian interpretation of the concept of Zion is that it is the church—not the so-called "evangelicals" who support injustice and immorality, but all those who are truly called of God and have God's love in their hearts, for to love God is to work for justice and promote peace.

Give me a spirit of discernment, O God, that I might tell the difference between those who speak your Name in vain and those who truly love it. And help me not to despair when the former holds sway, but to believe in my heart that you will act on behalf of those who need you; in Jesus' Name. Amen.