The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
In 1 Samuel 25 we meet a man named Nabal. He is not a good man at all. In fact, he is described as “harsh and badly behaved” (v. 3), “a worthless man” (vv. 17 and 25, the latter by his own wife!), and a man of folly (v. 25, also by his wife). David’s men approach Nabal and are polite and helpful, according to the text and to Nabal’s men. Yet Nabal treats them and David rudely. Nabal is insulting and crass, refusing to help them. As a result, David and about 400 of his men arm themselves to march on Nabal and his men, intending great harm. Nabal’s wife (Abigail) ends up soothing David and staying his hand. Abigail recounts to Nabal the conversation she had had with David, and Nabal ends up dying ten days later (and Abigail ends up becoming one of David’s wives). Nabal was foolish, to say the least. In fact, his very name means “foolish.” “Nabal” is the exact word that David uses in Psalm 14:1, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” The fool in this context is not one who denies God’s existence (though that, too, is foolish). Instead, it is one who thinks there is no accountability for his actions. It is one who decides that she is not responsible to God in any way. It is the person who makes a mistake (often fatal) about reality, believing that he or she can live life free of consequences or liability. This is simply not reality. We are accountable to God, whether we think so or not. Thankfully, God is just and merciful and forgiving. He loves us perfectly. It is good that we answer to such an amazing, holy God.