The FISHERS Magazine (Issue 194)

A Foolish Heart and a Wise Heart

Gospel



The fool has said in his heart “There is no God” (Ps 14:1; Ps 53:1).

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Prv 9:10).

The Fool

No one likes to be called a fool or to be ranked with the fool, yet we find many fools walking around us everyday. When the Bible labels someone as a ‘fool’ it means that this person is a wicked and vicious person; one without wisdom, a right notion of God and all things spiritual. If someone says “There is no God!” or “God is dead!” he is actually worse than the devils because the devils at least believe and acknowledge four articles of our faith when they say to Jesus, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Matt 8:29). First, they acknowledge there is a God, second, they recognise Jesus as the Son of God, third, they believe there is a day of judgment and fourth, they know that eventually they will be sent to hell to be tormented in eternity. Therefore a fool is viler than a devil when he denies the existence of God.

Let us examine this statement closely again, “The fool has said in his heart ‘There is no God’.”

Who is the person mentioned here? The fool.
What did he say? “There is no God.”
How did he say it? In his heart.

What has this person done? Nothing, he only thought something.
Did he utter anything? No, he only said it in his heart and not with his mouth.

If his statement were true, what would the consequences be? If there is no God there would be no law and no absolute truth; there would be no order and everyone would do what is right in his own eyes because, after all, he would not be accountable to anyone; there would be no restraint on lust and passion, resulting in relative and ever declining morality. How would you like to live in a world where there is no God?

The truth is clearly stated in the Bible, “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Rom 1:21-22). The secret desire of every unconverted heart is that a holy, just, all-powerful, all-knowing and ever-present God does not exist, so that he can do whatever his depraved heart desires.

Besides saying “There is no God,” what else does the fool say in his heart about God? Psalm 10 mentions at least three more things, which reveals how ungodly, unrighteous and self-deceptive he is. The heart is the source of all vital operations; it is the spring and origin of all motivations and actions. The heart is the warehouse, the hand and the tongue are but the shops; they always begin where the heart ends.


1. An Ungodly Heart

He has said in his heart, “I shall not be moved; I shall never be in adversity” (Ps 10:6).

The fool is a very proud man who thinks that he is immutable and omnipotent, and he is never to be in adversity. He thinks that no one can remove him from his present place and happy state, and his present prosperity makes him secure for the future. He thinks that he is the greatest and no one can exert any power over him. He is an ungodly man who not only shows no respect for God but also puts himself in God’s place. His heart is full of cursing and blasphemies against God even if his mouth may not say them.

Pride in the natural man makes him look upon God as his greatest enemy because he knows that if he were to admit there is a God, he must fear Him and worship Him; and that, he is not willing to do. So he tells himself that there is not such a God who minds the affairs of the world and the actions of men, and punishes sinners. As God is denied and forgotten by him, so are God’s judgments and laws. He will not seek after the knowledge of God nor inquire into the mind and will of God. As a result, he will not take the trouble to find out whether his action is just or unjust, pleasing or offensive to God. Therefore he does whatever he pleases. When God is not in the thoughts of a wicked man, his thoughts will bring him to destruction.

He who denies the sovereignty and omnipotence of God is a fool.


2. An Unrighteous Heart

He has said in his heart, “God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see” (Ps 10:11).

Because of his ungodly attitude towards God, the fool’s actions towards his fellowmen are both unrighteous and evil. A wicked man is a cruel man who comforts himself with the idea that God is blind or at least forgetful towards what he has done to others. The bad news for this unrighteous man is that God has an infallible memory and He will not forget the sins committed by an unrepentant sinner! Before His all-knowing eye the evil of godless men is ‘written with a pen of iron and with the point of a diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart’ (Jer 17:1), and evil men will recall all their wicked deeds while they are suffering in eternal punishment.

A person without God despises the poor and oppresses others who dislike him. If he were in a place of power and authority - a place that God would have to have given him - he would persecute those he should protect and cherish. Instead of thinking of their wellbeing he makes those under him poor and destitute. The wicked man, who has become prosperous through wicked ways and means, neither fears God’s judgments nor the power of his enemies. He fancies that his present prosperity and happiness will last forever. He behaves as though God were not there when he committed all his evil deeds. But the Lord says, “Can anyone hide himself in secret places so I shall not see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (Jer 23:24). God is present everywhere except in the thoughts of the ungodly (Ps 10:4).

He who convinces himself that God is not omnipresent and that he can do things behind His back is a fool.


3. A Self-deceptive Heart

Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, “You will not require an account” (Ps 10:13).

A wicked man has a self-deceptive heart. He thinks that God does not remember the sins that he himself does not regard. A sinner’s forgotten sins will rise up to meet him in the day of death like a swarm of locusts. While the unrepentant sinner continues to sin, the score runs on like a computer game, and the Judge sets down all on the table of remembrance and his scroll reaches up to Heaven until life’s end. When the computer registers ‘Game over!’, then he will have to give an account of his life before the Almighty and Omniscient God. Nothing can escape His knowledge and He will search every sin out to punish the wicked. God not only knows what he has done in public, He also knows the sins he has committed in private and even his secret desire cannot escape His knowledge! What an awful thought it is that one day all the sins a man has ever committed will be revealed and punished by the just God!

In his own deception, the fool thinks that he is self-sufficient and self-confident and he does not need God; that only weaklings will cling onto something for support like the tendrils of a sweet pea plant twining round the fence. He considers himself his own boss in everything and that so long as he works hard he can achieve whatever he wants without the help of a Being outside of himself. His pride gives him an unduly exalted opinion of himself.

A self-deceptive heart would like to think that his circumstances are assured and stable, therefore there is no need for him to make plans for life after death. Like the Rich Fool in Jesus’ parable, he continues to accumulate worldly goods and spares no thought for his Creator, until one day, while he is still making plans for his future advancement, God says to him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (Luke 12:20-21). Our all-knowing God needs no witness to determine whether you are guilty or innocent, for He knows everything about every creature He has ever created.

He who thinks that God is not omniscient and cannot keep an account of all his sins is a fool.


The Wise

Besides revealing to us what pre-occupies the heart of the fool, Psalm 10 also tells us what a wise heart thinks of God. If you do not want to be labeled as a fool according to the standard of God’s Word, search the Scriptures to find out how you can have a wise heart so that you may not walk in the way of the fool but in the way of the wise.

The Two Doors

A man must first acknowledge that he is created by God but sin has separated him from his Creator. In his lost state, he becomes an enemy of God and worships anything under the sun (including himself) except his Creator. He becomes a fool and cries out with the rest of depraved humanity, “No God!” or “God is dead!” In his pride, an ungodly man wants to control his own affairs and that becomes his greatest downfall.

It was pride that plunged Satan from Heaven to earth, on the way to Hell; it also banished our first parents, Adam and Eve from Paradise; it drove the mighty Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, from being man to eating grass like oxen. Therefore the first step for a man to gain true wisdom and knowledge is to humble himself before the almighty God in fear and reverence as the Bible says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prv 9:10). Only those who turn from idols to worship the Living God will know who is actually in charge of the matters of men. He is Jehovah God, immortal, eternal and almighty, reigning on His throne not just for a season but also throughout all eternity.

The psalmist cries out from a heart that has been made wise by God, “The LORD is King forever and ever; the nations have perished out of His hand” (Ps 10:16). Just imagine, a kingdom, as great as Babylon, perished overnight at the hands of God; how much more a mere mortal man? A wise heart will give honour, praise and glory to the omnipotent God and worship Him in spirit and in truth.

A wise heart knows that God is not only omnipotent but also omnipresent; He sees the wicked deeds of the evildoers whether committed openly or in secret. Those who fear God are protected by Him, they need not fear what men can do to them because wherever they go, God is with them. When they are being oppressed they can confidently pray, “But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, to repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless” (Ps 10:14). On one hand, the wise puts his trust in God’s promise that He is a just Judge and will vindicate his case, and at the same time, he will avoid doing things that are unrighteous to offend his God. He will be careful not to sin against God in his thoughts because wherever his thoughts run, He is there!

A wise heart knows that God is also omniscient and nothing can escape His knowledge. God knows if a person truly fears and honours Him; He also knows how much a person is suffering for His Name’s sake and how terribly the righteous is being oppressed by the wicked. Therefore the wise heart prays, “LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more” (Ps 10:17-18).

Conclusion

‘The fool has said in his heart “There is no God”.’ but those who are wise, who fear Him, know that the God they trust will one day come to be the final Judge of Heaven and Earth and when that time comes, their God will say, “I will remember their sin no more” (Jer 31:34). What a blessing it is to know that just by believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God as their Saviour, God will acquit them and never bring up their sins to accuse them again, for the merit of a crucified Christ alone is sufficient to cover the sins of all who put their trust in Him. Our sins are not concealed by good works, by many prayers, or by the knowledge of creeds and confessions, but are propitiated by the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Let not the wicked deceive himself any more but turn from his evil ways to seek the Lord, so that He will give him a new and wise heart to perceive all things from the perspective of a wise God and he will be a fool no more.

“Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Is 55:7).


Dixie Chua
- Dixie Chua is one of the editors of Fishers.

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