MEN SUPPRESS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CREATOR,
THOUGH HIS INVISIBLE ATTRIBUTES CAN BE SEEN FROM
THE NEWBORN BABY
TO THE SWEEP OF THE GRAND CANYON
Tim Keller says everyone believes initially, but then they suppress the truth so they can live as they wish. In time, they truly believe the lie, for their minds become darkened. Matthew Henry writes: The fool cannot satisfy himself that there is no God, but wishes there were no God. Pascal says men do not want to believe because they do not want to give up control. It has been illuminating to me to see the reason behind disbelief. While it is true that if you have been fed lies, you need evidence to refute them, it is important to see that our hearts do not want to believe, for that will help you not only with those whom you love who resist God, but with your own heart, whose tendency is also to resist in order to be in control. Tim Conway said:
Sin is about belittling God: not wanting Him, not trusting Him, and not making Him the center of our lives.
Lent is a season of repentance, leading us to the cross and the resurrection, so we must indeed apply Psalm 14, not only to the outspoken fools of our world, but to our own hearts. When Paul quotes Psalm 14 in Romans, it is directed toward us.
May we consider how we have belittled God, how we have not wanted Him, how we have not trusted Him, and how we have not made Him the center of our lives.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. Lent is a season of repentance. As you search your heart, how have you belittled God, not wanted Him, not trusted Him, not made Him the center of your life? Share just one repetitive pattern succinctly so that we might pray for one another.
3. Share something from your special Lenten reading from Bonhoeffer. Or, if you have watched the movie of his life, share from that. (Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace — available for free on you-tube or 2.99 for a week on Amazon)
Songs: This Lent we’ve been endeavoring to follow Bonhoeffer’s advice of preparing our hearts each morning with song, then going to the Word, and then praying the Word.
In the optional sermon on Psalm 14, Tim Keller says that fools in their arrogance do not know they are fools, but a child of God realizes he is a fool without God. He is desperate therefore for Him. This brought two songs to mind:
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study
5. When Psalm 14 talks about the fool, it uses the Hebrew word “nabal.” Abigail was married to a man who typified the kind of fool Psalm 14 addresses, and his name actually was Nabal. Read 1 Samuel 25:1-13 and find how Nabal suppressed the truth in order to do what he wanted to do.
6. Consider — how do you tend to suppress the truth at times and why is this foolish? If God shows you, let this lead you into a prayer of repentance.
7. Read Psalm 14:2-3 and then see how it is quoted in Romans 3:9-11. Who is Paul talking about here? How does this speak to you?
8. Read Psalm 14:4. In the sermon you will hear from Dick Lucas, he lists those like Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini who devoured God’s people. If you listened to the atheisit’s song, Imagine, last week, how does verse 4 and these historical examples refute the lie of Imagine?
9. Read Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of verses 5-7:
Is there anyone around to save Israel? Yes. God is around; God turns life around.
Turned-around Jacob skips rope, turned-around Israel sings laughter.
10. Psalm 53 is nearly identical to Psalm 14. Read it. I have learned that God uses repetition when things are important. Why do you think these thoughts are so important to Him?
11. Praying the Psalm
A. Pray for your own heart, that you would not think like the fool. Pray for those you love.
B. Thank God that He is takes the side of victims and one day will do a great reversal.
12. Share your notes and observations.
Optional Sermon for 2.50 from Tim Keller: LINK
13. Share notes if you listened.
14. What is your take-a-way and why?