Hi. I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
A Google search for “Reinvent Yourself” returns links to “Three ways to reinvent yourself”, “Five steps to reinvent yourself”, “10 Suggestions”, “15 Ideas” and even the “Ultimate cheat sheet on how to reinvent yourself.” But Psalm 14 beats them all. It has a guaranteed one-step method.
Psalm 14 tells us, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” There it is. The one-step method. You don’t even have to say it out loud — it’s enough to say it quietly in your heart. You can say, “I don’t need God — he just gets in the way. I’ll set my own priorities, plan my own progress, measure my own success. The possibilities for my life are sweeter and more interesting without God. Who needs his laws and rules and love?”
And will this self-managed life turn out well? Not really, says the poet, because we didn’t create ourselves, God did. Trying to live without him is living a lie. And living a lie puts us on a slippery slope. Without God, the good life disappears. Evil floods in. People begin treat each other like they have been treating God — as annoying obstructions, as goods to be used and discarded.
But God is watching, says the poet, whether we believe in him or not (v.2).. He is present in the company of the righteous, he is their refuge in trouble, he brings them salvation (vv. 5, 6, 7). But he will overwhelm the wicked with dread (v. 5).
In his book The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins argues that there is no God. He writes that human goodness can flourish without you. And he argues that religion is the root of all evil.
We are not competent to judge Dawkins’ heart and motives, but we hear with striking clarity your judgement, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (v. 1) and “… all these evildoers know nothing” (v. 4).
In his book Sapiens author Youval Noah Harrari concludes: “We humans are more powerful than ever before, but have very little idea what to do with all that power. Worse still, humans seem to be more irresponsible than ever. We are] self-made gods wreaking havoc on our fellow animals and on the ecosystem, seeking our own comfort and amusement, yet never finding satisfaction.” ( Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Signal: Toronto, 2014) pp. 415-416, paraphrased)
Harrari asks, “Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?” (Sapiens, p. 416).
O God, we have reinvented ourselves, but what poor gods we make. And Psalm 14 agrees. When we reject you and set our own course, disaster is the certain outcome.
Our father, what are we to do? We cannot prove your existence, we cannot prove the rightness of your laws. But in the gospel we have come to know you. Jesus lived a human story on earth. Through him we live in the larger story that includes his life in heaven. Help us to live not by intellectual proofs that you exist, but by the truth of our duty to love. Teach us to love those who journey with us. Teach us to love you, our God in heaven.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.