In these verses the psalmist endeavours,
I. To convince sinners of the evil and danger of the way they are in, how secure soever they are in that way. Three things he shows them, which, it may be, they are not very willing to see—their wickedness, their folly, and their danger, while they are apt to believe themselves very wise, and good, and safe. See here,
1. Their wickedness. This is described in four instances:—(1.) They are themselves workers of iniquity; they design it, they practise it, and take as much pleasure in it as ever any man did in his business. (2.) They eat up God’s people with as much greediness as they eat bread, such an innate and inveterate enmity they have to them, and so heartily do they desire their ruin, because they really hate God, whose people they are. It is meat and drink to persecutors to be doing mischief; it is as agreeable to them as their necessary food. They eat up God’s people easily, daily, securely, without either check of conscience when they do it or remorse of conscience when they have done it; as Joseph’s brethren cast him into a pit and then sat down to eat bread, Gen. 37:24, 25. See Mic. 3:2, 3. (3.) They call not upon the Lord. Note, Those that care not for God’s people, for God’s poor, care not for God himself, but live in contempt of him. The reason why people run into all manner of wickedness, even the worst, is because they do not call upon God for his grace. What good can be expected from those that live without prayer? (4.) They shame the counsel of the poor, and upbraid them with making God their refuge, as David’s enemies upbraided him, Ps. 11:1. Note, Those are very wicked indeed, and have a great deal to answer for, who not only shake off religion, and live without it themselves, but say and do what they can to put others out of conceit with it that are well-inclined—with the duties of it, as if they were mean, melancholy, and unprofitable, and with the privileges of it, as if they were insufficient to make a man safe and happy. Those that banter religion and religious people will find, to their cost, it is ill jesting with edged-tools and dangerous persecuting those that make God their refuge. Be you not mockers, lest your bands be made strong. He shows them,
2. Their folly: They have no knowledge; this is obvious, for if they had any knowledge of God, if they did rightly understand themselves, and would but consider things as men, they would not be so abusive and barbarous as they are to the people of God.
3. Their danger (Ps. 14:5): There were they in great fear. There, where they ate up God’s people, their own consciences condemned what they did, and filled them with secret terrors; they sweetly sucked the blood of the saints, but in their bowels it is turned, and become the gall of asps. Many instances there have been of proud and cruel persecutors who have been made like Pashur, Magormissabibs—terrors to themselves and all about them. Those that will not fear God perhaps may be made to fear at the shaking of a leaf.
II. He endeavours to comfort the people of God, 1. With what they have. They have God’s presence (Ps. 14:5): He is in the generation of the righteous. They have his protection (Ps. 14:6): The Lord is their refuge. This is as much their security as it is the terror of their enemies, who may jeer them for their confidence in God, but cannot jeer them out of it. In the judgment-day it will add to the terror and confusion of sinners to see God own the generation of the righteous, which they have hated and bantered. 2. With what they hope for; and that is the salvation of Israel, Ps. 14:7. When David was driven out by Absalom and his rebellious accomplices, he comforted himself with an assurance that god would in due time turn again his captivity, to the joy of all his good subjects. But surely this pleasing prospect looks further. He had, in the beginning of the psalm, lamented the general corruption of mankind; and, in the melancholy view of that, wishes for the salvation which should be wrought out by the Redeemer, who was expected co come to Zion, to turn away ungodliness from Jacob, Rom. 11:26. The world is bad; O that the Messiah would come and change its character! There is a universal corruption; O for the times of reformation! Those will be as joyful times as these are melancholy ones. Then shall God turn again the captivity of his people; for the Redeemer shall ascend on high, and lead captivity captive, and Jacob shall then rejoice. The triumphs of Zion’s King will be the joys of Zion’s children. The second coming of Christ, finally to extinguish the dominion of sin and Satan, will be the completing of this salvation, which is the hope, and will be the joy, of every Israelite indeed. With the assurance of that we should, in singing this, comfort ourselves and one another, with reference to the present sins of sinners and sufferings of saints.