It is said that this Psalm was written in regards to an incursion of Judea. We can clearly see David’s lamenting of the corruption of the world and he is crying out for God to save them. It is easy, however, to read this psalm and think of “them” as outsiders and subsequently “us” as the “good people.” However, David says there is no one who does good, not even one. This includes himself! We can see that the corruption runs to the core and is exacerbated by society. The whole is corrupted by the one. Remaining pure in a corrupted society is impossible…save the influence of the Lord.
In verse 1, David proclaims that the fool claims there is no God. Those of us who are believers do not identify with this statement. This is how we begin to separate ourselves in our minds from the corrupt of the world. However, how often do we behave as if there is no God? How often do we try to take things into our own hands? How many times a day or week do we lose hope and behave unfaithfully? We act a fool all the time! We say in our hearts, “there is no God, so I must do this on my own or look to other things/people/methods for help and comfort.” We are a corrupt generation.
Jesus restores us and lifts us up. He covers us in His righteousness, not for our own reward but for His glory. We must recognize this when we find ourselves in our own corruption. We must understand that in our sin we are killing ourselves even though we have access to life. The Lord has restored His captive people, captive to the lustfulness of sin and into the Promised Land. He has made available to us His Kingdom, if we would only turn towards Him and walk in it. This is what Paul meant when he wrote in Philippians 2:
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Our salvation is not something to have, but to put to work in us. Simply having soap and water does not make you clean, you must put it to use in order to be cleansed. Receiving salvation is more like having a door opened for you that was previously locked but that you must take the steps yourself to walk through. This is what Jesus was getting at when He said in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:
13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.