Psalm 53: 1 – 4                 CJB

A brutish fool tells himself, “There isn’t any God.” Such people are depraved, all their deeds are vile, not one of them does what is good. God looks out from heaven upon the human race to see if even one is wise, if even one seeks God. Every one of them is unclean, altogether corrupt; not one of them does what is good, not a single one.

This is the state of humans without God. Of course humans are brutish without the grace of God but I see the word “brutish” differently than some may. We treat this word as a synonym for evil or malevolent, but the vileness or wickedness is more a result than a definition. Brutish means without human sensibilities, animal like. We treat animals like they have human emotions, but they don’t. Although our pets can be great companions and sometimes seem much more kind than people, still they are not made as humans. This becomes clearer when we reach beyond domesticated animals to wild animals. That is what brutish alludes to.

Animals in the wild don’t think and reason as humans do, nor are they meant to. Their behaviors are meant to preserve their lives. Sometimes we may see their actions as brutal, but survival is their directive. Not so humans. We are supposed to serve others, preserve the earth, build a kingdom, care for all of God’s creatures and glorify our king. So, what is considered brutish is perfectly normal and appropriate for a wild animal but not for humans. We are supposed to live beyond the basic biological drives and set our sights beyond primitive motives. We are, however, unable to do that apart from God.

The Passion Translation sheds additional light on this passage, “Only the withering soul would say to himself, “There’s no God for me!” Anyone who thinks like that is corrupt and callous; depraved and detestable, they are devoid of what is good. The Lord looks down in love, bending over heaven’s balcony. God looks over all of Adam’s sons and daughters, looking to see if there are any who are wise with insight – any who search for him, wanting to please him. But no, all have wandered astray, walking stubbornly toward evil. Not one is good; he can’t even find one!” I think this shows a different interpretation on what David was saying in this psalm. It’s not just that humans are evil. It’s beyond that. The point seems to be that without God, we can only act as animals. It is ultimately God who gives us our humanity. It is our damaged souls which cause depravity. Without God in our lives we are not whole. We don’t know good even when we seek it.

God looks lovingly from heaven at us and grieves. He wants to help us, to impart a piece of Himself to each one of us. We were designed with that in mind. However, we are damaged and broken and can’t find our way. As a whole, we do not even search for Him. Don’t mishear me, people who aren’t Christians seek an ethic. In truth, some can be more kind than us. However, without our Father we just cannot find truth or real good. We can only find our version and I am sure to Yahweh, we look like so many lost souls searching for meaning and finding none. Additionally, there are those of us who seek only to serve ourselves. We must appear, to the Kind and Gentle One, like voracious beasts intent only upon feeding our hunger. O God, that we might have you in abundance and satisfy the savage beast within us!

We need not be brutish. We can serve a higher purpose, and so we were intended. Fools cannot know God because they are withered in their souls. They seek not the truth, but rather a variation of truth which satisfies their injured souls. We are not unclean because we do evil. We are unclean because we have not been washed with the love of God. Therefore, we do evil, we can do nothing but evil because we act with wrong motives. No walk without the Divine One is clean and pure because He is the source of light. This is not a criticism against non-Christians. It is an exposition of vanity. We are only empowered in Him. He is the source and we need that part of Him that makes us whole.

Understand the micro version of this truth as well as the macro. In the large, this is about humanity. The micro view is about you and it is a reflection of me. In small ways perhaps, or even in complete areas of our lives, we fail to incorporate Yahweh. Is He a part of your work life? Is He integrated into your approach to your family? Are we allowing Him to aid us in how we engage Him in every aspect of life? Do we carry Him through our workday only to abandon Him when we go out in the evening with our friends? Have we learned to shunt Him to the corner or perhaps are there rooms of our hearts which we have never allowed Him entrance? We cannot be our true selves without the Father. Is goodness in us? Goodness is Godness so we only have goodness in those areas we have allowed the dear Father to enter. Search your own life but also, let’s pray for our whole species, that we may find our way to fullness of truth and fulfillment in the Father.