The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’ Psalm 14:1.
Warning! It’s April Fools’ Day!
I’ve had a lot of AF jokes pulled on me, and I must admit that I’ve pulled off a few pretty good ones myself. But one thing I’ve noticed. No one likes being called a fool, much less being made to look like a fool. We like to think of ourselves as savvy, wise, and sharp—not easily tricked or duped. But when we measure ourselves by God’s standards, we might be surprised at how much we deserve the title.
Did you know, for example, that the Bible says we are fools if we . . .
- spread slander (Proverbs 10:18);
- think we’re right in our own eyes rather than listening to wise counsel (Proverbs 12:15);
- reject our father’s discipline (Proverbs 15:5);
- delight only in revealing our own mind rather than in understanding (Proverbs 18:2);
- are perverse in speech instead of walking in integrity (Proverbs 19:1);
- quarrel instead of keeping away from strife (Proverbs 20:3);
- always lose our temper (Proverbs 29:11)?
Of course, the ultimate definition of a fool is found in today’s verse. The ultimate fool is one who lives as though “there is no God.” Notice that the verse does not say that a fool says with his mouth “there is no God.” It’s a matter of the heart attitude. In fact it would be quite possible to say with your lips that there is a God but then to have your heart think and act as though God does not factor into your dreams and choices at all. When our heart says that there is a God, we readily obey Him and surrender to His will and ways in our lives. Though it’s not always easy, a God-honoring heart is willing to begin the process of forgiving those who have deeply hurt us; to think of others as more important than ourselves; to choose generosity over greed; and to be sensitive to the needs of the poor and oppressed.
One of the most penetrating “fool” passages in Scripture is recorded in Luke 12:13-21. Jesus told the parable of a rich businessman who had more wealth than he knew what to do with. After signing the papers for corporate expansion (bigger barns), he congratulates himself and decides to throw himself a party. Everyone in his town would have said he was a smashing success. But God had a different take on him: “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (Luke 12:20). Jesus concluded with the point: “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21 ESV). It is indeed foolish to be satisfied with our own wealth and to have given no thought to becoming rich toward God by preparing for eternity, or as Jesus said to become rich toward God by giving our money away to the poor and to those in need (Luke 12:33).
When we recognize the rightful place of God in our hearts, our lives are wonderfully transformed to enjoy the rewarding results of wisdom—life from God’s point of view—rather than the embarrassing outcomes of a godless, foolish heart.
I hope you get to pull off a good April Fools’ joke today. In fact, you may even have a good-natured laugh at having one pulled on you. But, while all that is going on, don’t forget to honor God’s will and ways in your heart. Life is too short and too serious to live it as a fool!
I Will Trust Him
From: Streams in the Desert
Though he slay me, yet will I trust him (Job 13:15).
For I know whom I have believed (2 Tim. 1:12).
I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea
Come drifting home with broken masts and sails;
I will believe the Hand which never fails,
From seeming evil worketh good for me.
And though I weep because those sails are tattered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered:
‘I trust in Thee.’
I will not doubt, though all my prayers return
Unanswered from the still, white realm above;
I will believe it is an all-wise love
Which has refused these things for which I yearn;
And though at times I cannot keep from grieving,
Yet the pure ardor of my fixed believing
Undimmed shall burn.
I will not doubt, though sorrows fall like rain,
And troubles swarm like bees about a hive.
I will believe the heights for which I strive
Are only reached by anguish and by pain;
And though I groan and writhe beneath my crosses.
I yet shall see through my severest losses
The greater gain.
I will not doubt. Well anchored is this faith,
Like some staunch ship, my soul braves every gale;
So strong its courage that it will not quail
To breast the mighty unknown sea of death.
Oh, may I cry, though body parts with spirit,
‘I do not doubt,’ so listening worlds may hear it,
With my last breath.
“In fierce storms,” said an old seaman, “we must do one thing; there is only one way: we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there.” This, Christian, is what you must do.
Sometimes, like Paul, you can see neither sun nor stars, and no small tempest lies on you; and then you can do but one thing; there is only one way. Reason cannot help you; past experiences give you no light. Even prayer fetches no consolation. Only a single course is left. You must put your soul in one position and keep it there.
You must stay upon the Lord; and come what may–winds, waves, cross-seas, thunder, lightning, frowning rocks, roaring breakers–no matter what, you must lash yourself to the helm, and hold fast your confidence in God’s faithfulness, His covenant engagement, His everlasting love in Christ Jesus.
From: Through the Bible
Deuteronomy 10:9 (NIV) 9That is why the Levites have no share or inheritance among their brothers; the LORD is their inheritance, as the LORD your God told them.)
When the Promised Land was portioned out to the sons of Israel, the tribe of Levy did not get its own area. Instead, they had cities within the other tribes lands so that they could be the priests among them. It is a wonderful picture for us today. We are to be priests (1 Peter 2:5) in the world, but not of the world. We have here no continuing city. Like Abraham, we look for the city that has lasting foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
The failure of the tribe of Levi to really be priests was a factor in the downfall of some of the tribes. The tribe of Dan went into idolatry because the priest they chose was using idols. Our faithfulness in our relationship with God and worship of God will affect many lives. The call of God on our lives is not just for our own spiritual well being, but for many.
The LORD emphasized that the Levites were not to be attached to the land as their inheritance, but to the LORD himself. He would be their inheritance. Which would you rather have? The answer shows where your heart is. Priests of God (all redeemed believers) must set their heart and mind on things above. Our desire must be toward our relationship with God, to inherit the LORD Himself, not the things that He has made. That is the heart of faith that results in a life of faith. The Levites were only a twelfth of the nation. They had a high calling. So do you.
Consider: What do you desire to inherit?
Matthew 26:33-35 (NIV) 33Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”34“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” 35But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
I think we would say the same. Those in the third world that are daily faced with suffering and death are not so quick to say the same. Like Peter, they have learned that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. We can believe in our heart that we would die before denying our Lord, but the truth is that we will never know unless we are faced with the choice. In many parts of our world, people are making the choice. Let’s remember to pray for them. There are more martyrs for Christ this century than in all previous ones combined.
We have one great resource that the disciples did not have. The Spirit has been poured out. If we are living in constant reliance upon the Spirit, when faced with a choice, we will follow our life pattern of depending on His strength. We will make the right choice. If we are live in the pattern of relying on our own strength and effort, we will certainly fail the test. Failing does not mean defeat. It is a revelation of our condition and the unreliability of the flesh. That revelation will bring us to the depths of despair, the depths to which Peter went when he went out and wept bitterly. Then we can turn and change the source of our strength.
The humility of failure made it possible for him to hear the Apostle Paul’s correction. If early church history is accurate, Peter did change the source of his strength. When faced again with a choice of denying Jesus or death, he not only chose death, but death upside down on a cross. You probably stand before a great test in which you will fail, or have failed, or have been restored. Learn the lesson of failure, and let it teach you humility and dependence on the strength of the Spirit.
Remember: God does not love us any less when we fail. Get up! Depend on Him!