2006-02-12 - Practical Atheism
Psalm 14, Part 4
Verse 5: David notes this truth when he says the wicked are overwhelmed with dread by the very presence of God, in the church the Holy Spirit. Although they aren't aware of it, they recognize His presence and respond to it, even though the response may be hostile.
In some news stories, you can see that evil is driven to insanity by the presence of righteous.
Verse 6: David goes on to note that while the wicked may have success for the moment, specifically in the case of the abuse of the poor, they will finally lose. God is in control. He protects the helpless. So while insanity is loose, we can still rejoice, for God is in control.
Verse 7: So in an insane world, whether it be David's, or the apparently more insane day in which we live, our hope is in the Lord. We know He will finally come and bring restoration to His people, be they Israel, or the church. Insanity will finally be removed, and sanity will return to creation.
Conclusion: There are two aspects to our response to this psalm. The first speaks to our responsibility to offer sanity to the insane. The second is related to the danger of us being part-time crazies.
Unlike in David's day, today there are many who claim to be atheists. The only response one can make to them was the one I heard on radio awhile back. "Are you a liar or are you insane? For Scripture says that one who denies the existence of God is insane. So which are you?" Now granted, this may not receive a positive response, but certainly it is a valid question. However, I'm not sure I'd recommend asking it.
For, us the question becomes how to reach these people. Well first of all, there are not that many real atheists, and we are much more likely to come up against a Mormon than someone who actually doesn't believe in any sort of God. But if and when we do, all we can do is strive to allow God's love to flow through us. And to be willing to testify to the truth of God in our life, regardless of any ridicule we may face.
Unfortunately, we are more likely to come up against practical atheism. Sadly this isn't found only with the unbeliever, but many claiming the name of Christ live this way. I suspect there are even times we find, without intent, that we too may live as practical atheists.
For the average individual in this society, God isn't a real issue. On a day-to-day basis, He is never a consideration. It seems it is only in times of great crisis the unrighteous, or for that matter the righteous, may consider the need to turn to him.
When I was reading in 2 Chronicles, I saw examples among the kings of Judah. Ahaz had been following after the Baals. He had even burned up his sons as offerings. On one occasion, Oded came and said to the armies of Israel, "Because the Lord, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand. But you have slaughtered them in a rage that reaches to heaven. And now you intend to make the men and women of Judah and Jerusalem your slaves. But aren't you also guilty of sins against the Lord your God? Now listen to me! Send back your fellow countrymen you have taken as prisoners, for the Lord's fierce anger rests on you"(2 Chronicles 28:9-11).
The leaders listen and repented their planned actions. But what was Ahaz's response to Obed's words? He remained a practical atheist. He continued to live in his own way and eventually his insanity brought him, down to death and destruction.
To be continued.
Comments or Questions?