He has said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.
The wicked man said a good many wrong things "in his heart." The tacit assumptions on which a life is based, though they may never come to consciousness, and still less to utterance, are the really important things. I daresay this "wicked man" with his lips was a good Jew, and said his prayers all properly, but in his heart he had two working beliefs. One is thus expressed, "As for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved." The other is put into words thus, "He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten, He hideth His face, He will never see it." That is to say, the only explanation of a godless life, unless the man is an idiot, is that there lie beneath it, as formative principles and unspoken assumptions, guiding and shaping it, one or both of these two thoughts — either "There is no God," or "He does not care what I do, and I am safe to go on for evermore in the present fashion." It might seem as if a man, with the facts of human life before him, could not, even in the insanest arrogance, say, "I shall not be moved, for I shall never be in adversity." But we have an awful power — and the fact that we exercise, and choose to exercise, it is one of the strange riddles of our enigmatical existence and characters — of ignoring unwelcome facts, and going cheerily on as though we had annihilated them, because we do not reflect upon them. So this man, in the midst of a world in which there is no stay, and whilst he saw all around him the most startling and tragical instances of sudden change and complete collapse, stands quietly and says, "Ah! I shall never be moved"; "God doth not require it." That absurdity is the basis of every life that is not a life of consecration and devotion — so far as it has a basis of conviction at all. The "wicked" man's true faith is this, absurd as it may sound when you drag it out into clear distinct utterance, whatever may be his professions. I wonder if there are any of us whose life can only be acquitted of being utterly unreasonable and ridiculous, by the assumption, "I shall never be moved." Have you a lease of your goods? Do you think you are tenants at will, or owners? Which? Is there any reason why any of us should escape, as some of us live as if we believed we should escape, the certain fate of all others? If there is not, what about the sanity of the man whose whole life is built upon a blunder? He is convicted of the grossest folly, unless he be assured that either there is no God, or that He does not care one rush about what we do, and that consequently we are certain of a continuance in our present state. Do you say in your heart, "I shall never be moved"? Then you must be strong enough to resist every tempest that beats against you. Is that so? "I shall never be moved." Then nothing that contributes to your well-being will ever slip from your grasp, but you will be able to hold it tight. Is that so? "I shall never be moved." Then there is no grave waiting for you. Is that so? Unless these three assumptions be warranted, every godless man is making a hideous blunder, and his character is the sentence pronounced by the loving lips of incarnate truth on the rich man who thought that he had "much goods laid up for many years," and had only to be merry — "Thou fool! Thou fool!" If an engineer builds a bridge across a river without due calculation of the force of the winds that blow down the gorge, the bridge will be at the bottom of the stream some stormy night, and the train piled on the fragments of it in hideous ruin. And with equal certainty the end of the first utterer of this speech can be calculated, and is foretold in this Psalm, "The Lord is King forever and ever. The godless are perished out of the land."
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.