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Psalm chapter 14

What does Psalm chapter 14 mean?

The opening line of this Psalm summarizes Scripture's assessment of those who reject God. The term used here for a "fool" is nābāl, which implies a stubborn, irrational form of willful ignorance. The problem with such persons is not poor intellect, or lack of evidence (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:18–20), but a choice in their will—in the heart (Jeremiah 17:9)—to live as if God does not exist (Psalm 14:1).

From God's eternal and holy perspective, the human race is like something beautiful which has been ruined or corrupted. The phrasing used here is echoed by Paul when he points out the universal sin nature of humanity (Romans 3:9–12). Even when a person tries to be "good," the effort is still tainted by the effects of sin (Isaiah 64:6). In this context, David is noting the complete depravity of those who reject even God's existence (Psalm 14:2–3).

Old Testament Scripture often uses the imagery of oppressors "eating" those they abuse (Proverbs 30:14; Psalm 27:1–2; Micah 3:1–3). Despite this, David is confident that those who refuse to acknowledge God will face judgment (Hebrews 10:31; Revelation 20:11–15). Though evil people often persecute others, believers can take comfort knowing that God will make all things right (John 16:33; Revelation 21:1–5). He remains a safe place, like a shelter, for those who believe in Him (Psalm 14:4–6).

The psalm ends with a hopeful look forward, to when Jesus comes back to establish His earthly kingdom (Revelation 19:11–16). This total victory is part of many Old Testament prophecies (Isaiah 9:6–7; Zechariah 13:1; Zephaniah 3:16–20). With this final triumph over sin, all of God's people will have reason to celebrate (Psalm 14:7).
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