“You will find this same psalm over in Psalm 53, with hardly any alteration. Why is this? Did the Holy Spirit take such special notice of the sayings and deeds of a fool, that one expression of them was not enough? Or are the babblings and madness of a fool so important that we need them told to us once and again, and then a third time in Romans 3?
Surely it cannot be because we can be fools, can it? Or can we?
… We can instruct teachers, and are able to defend doctrines. Surely we could never be among those who say there is no God. Beloved Christians, be not wise in your own conceits: if you will seriously examine Romans 3, you will find that Paul uses this very psalm to conclude that all of Adam’s race at some point denies that God is. In their hearts they deny him; as if there is no God, with no respect for him at all in what they say or do. And so, in God’s esteem, they (we) have actually been, strictly speaking, truly atheists. This psalm is about us. And apparently God thought we needed to have the truth repeated time and again.” (C.H. Spurgeon, updated and paraphrased by TMS)
Cardiphonia*: The Bible is pretty blunt when assessing the human condition. Such is the case here in Psalm 14:1-4, where we find words that an apostle will later quote to describe all of humanity in every age (Romans 3:10-18). In fact, Paul utilizes this text to show us how we all are guilty before God and without excuse (Romans 3:19, 20); which leads him to a proclamation of God’s justifying (forgiving) grace through the redemption and atonement of Christ (Romans 3:21-26). So, the salvation for which the old psalmist longed in Psalm 14:7 did in fact come out of Zion/Jerusalem (in the person of Jesus the Messiah); only perhaps not how David would have expected. Salvation came, not by God destroying all the no-good wicked sinners in the world, but by redeeming his people through the blood of his Son, justifying them freely by his grace through faith alone, and making them forever glad!
I have taken the unusual step in The Shorey Psalter of adding stanzas 5 and six to express the New Testament (Romans 3:23-26) answer to the terrible sinfulness of man expressed early in this psalm.
* A word coined by and borrowed from John Newton (meaning “sounds of the heart”). The Cardiphonia comments in the Shorey Psalter are my personal reflections on the Psalm.
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