Recently I had a conversation with someone who related his former belief about God by saying something to this effect: “I believed if there was a God He created us and put us in His test tube as an experiment to see what we would do.” This view of God obviously makes Him very detached and impersonal without a real plan of interaction or care for His creatures.
Psalm 53 very clearly shows that false ideas about God are the norm for people rather than the exception. All aberrant views of God may not be the same, but all of them are products of the fallen human nature. This psalm begins with one of these fallacious viewpoints which is the idea there is no God at all. This idea is beyond foolish for even a fool knows he can look at creation and see it couldn’t have just happened—with no rhyme or reason it just happened, and everything appeared from nothing. That something appeared from nothing is mind boggling to say the least, but it is all we are left with if there is no self-existent all powerful something. This is what God is—He is that all powerful something. The word used in Psalm 53 for God is the Hebrew Elohim which refers to the sovereign God who is the maker and sustainer of the universe. He is capable of making something out of nothing.
The existence of the sovereign God is evident lest we be total fools, and so we must move from the foolishness of the atheist to determine the personality of God. Are we His creatures the subject of an experiment? Is He impersonal? This notion is forcefully disputed by the psalmist as he states in verse 2 that God looked down from heaven to see if there were any that did seek Him. Why would this be important to an impersonal God? If there is no relationship to be had, what difference does seeking Him make?
The interaction of God with man in these verses is actually negative. The relationship that could be had is stymied by man’s sinfulness. This is not the condition of one or a few or even the majority. It is the condition of all as God sees all of us as filthy and not one of us is capable of good. This moral corruption causes all false views of God and keeps man from seeking God in the right way.
What is the solution to the problem? Only one—salvation—salvation from the depravity of the mind that keeps us away from God. How will this salvation come when the corruption of man keeps him from seeking it? It must come out of Zion (v. 6). Do you understand what this means? It means it must come from God. Only God can fix the problem and it is the sovereign God who by an act of His gracious omnipotent will that it is accomplished. The psalmist pleads for the salvation of God to come out of Zion!
A psalm such as this puts the free will of man in salvation forever at rest. There is nothing in us that wills us to God. The psalmist debunked this myth by saying there is none that does good, no, not one. Willing ourselves to God is good, isn’t it? And yet, according to this psalm, it can never happen. We cannot will ourselves to God but He can will Himself to us. When salvation comes out of Zion, it is God dealing with the depravity of man to change him to one who will seek Him. And this is how salvation happens, friends. We love Him because He first loved us.
When you seek God, never boast, “I am on my way to find God.” Always remember He changed you so that you would seek Him. This is how the dilemma of Psalm 53 is solved. The very personal God gets very personal with you. You are not a test tube baby but one personally born of the Spirit of God.
Pastor V. Mark Smith