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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Psalms 10

Verses 1-18

Atheism

Psalms 10:4 ; Psalms 14:1

The Psalmist's view of the men whom he calls the 'Ungodly' is explained in those two verses.

I. He does not bring against the ungodly any charge of theoretical Atheism. He is dealing with practical as distinct from theoretical Atheism, and therefore it is that his words have an interest for ourselves. The practical Atheist is he who says not in his speech, not in look or pamphlet, but in his heart, 'There is no God,' one of whom may be said in other words of the Psalmist, 'Neither is God in his thoughts'. The great question for us is really not whether we confess the existence of a God or not, that may matter little to us, still less perhaps to God but how far our belief in Him plays an active and practical part in our lives. Do we, as a practical creed in our present time, believe more in the power of God or the power of gold? Do we in our political relations believe more in the right cause or brutal force, or do we say and this, remember, is the most atheistical thing we can say, far more atheistical than denying the creed that 'God is on the side of the big battalions?'

II. 'The ungodly is so proud that he careth not for God, neither is God in all his thoughts.' The ungodly is so proud. When Holy Scripture paints us the picture of an Atheist, it is not the picture of a person in his study inventing arguments against God's existence but rather that of a severely practical person, with plenty of gods of his own, whose only real faith is in material force. We know how across the stage of history those tremendous and portentous figures Napoleon's and others have stridden, setting at defiance all spiritual power; saying in their hearts 'There is no God,' but indeed this practical materialism is not confined to them. It is found in lowly places and among quite ordinary men.

III. And so the real question for us is just this What is our real practical working religion? What do we believe in most? God or Mammon? fear most, poverty or wrong? What do we love most? Worldly power, comfort, success, or purity, righteousness, truth? It is in some such way as this that we shall find out whether we are Atheists or not.

H. R. Gamble, Christianity and Common Life Sermons, p. 146.

References. X. 4. International Critical Commentary, vol. i. p. 68. Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv. p. 57. X. 5. C. Kingsley, Sermons on National Subjects, p. 174. X. 13. J. Bunting, Sermons, vol. i. p. 288. X. 16. Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 118. X. 19, 20. J. H. Newman, Sermons on Subjects of the Day, p. 256. X. I. Williams, The Psalms Interpreted of Christ, p. 212. XI. International Critical Commentary, vol. i. p. 88.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Psalms 10". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/psalms-10.html. 1910.