The fool says in his heart,
    ‘There is no God.’
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
    there is no one who does good.
God looks down from heaven
    on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
    any who seek God.
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one.
Do all these evildoers know nothing?
They devour my people as though eating bread;
    they never call on God.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
    where there was nothing to dread.
God scattered the bones of those who attacked you;
    you put them to shame, for God despised them.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When God restores his people,
    let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

It’s the story of God’s people throughout their history, isn’t it? Paul sums it up in Romans 3:

There’s nobody living right, not even one,
    nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God.
They’ve all taken the wrong turn;
    they’ve all wandered down blind alleys.
No one’s living right;
    I can’t find a single one.
Their throats are gaping graves,
    their tongues slick as mudslides.
Every word they speak is tinged with poison.
    They open their mouths and pollute the air.
They race for the honour of sinner-of-the-year,
    litter the land with heartbreak and ruin,
Don’t know the first thing about living with others.
    They never give God the time of day. (The Message)

And this is the world we still find ourselves in. If we’re honest, this is sometimes the inner world we inhabit too - in spite of the grace we’ve been given through Jesus. Thanks be to God that his salvation is sure and that his promise of make everything new comes closer every day.

Questions for thought and discussion 

  • How can you turn today’s psalm into a prayer for yourself and the world around you?
  • How might you help your young people to live in the tension of being made perfect by Jesus but still being under the sanctifying work of the Spirit?

Independent Schools West of Scotland and Perthshire

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