Psalm 14: When You Know What You’re Made Of

Read Psalm 14.

Crushed bugs. Believe it or not, that was the reason Starbucks had to change the recipe for its one of its most popular drinks back in 2012.

Starbucks has always been known for more than just the taste of their coffee. They also pride themselves on their presentation. Everything they serve looks great (especially when the barista does that cool milk swirl thing on the surface of your latte). But as it turns out, the company achieved the brilliant red color of its Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino using a dye made from the pulverized remains of insects.

Of course, people eat bugs in many parts of the world. From what I’ve heard, they’re actually a good source of protein. But I don’t know if I’d order a Frappuccino from Starbucks if I knew it contained the broken remains of dead bugs, no matter how pretty it looked or delicious it tasted. Maybe that’s just me.

What a thing is made of matters. About human beings, the Bible says: “They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.… All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:1, 3). Some of us may look pretty good on the outside, but deep within and swimming throughout, it’s all crushed bugs.

Paul picks up these verses in his letter to the churches in Rome (Romans 3:9–20). He uses them (and a few other choice passages) to make the case that Jews and Gentiles alike are all rotten to the core. No one seeks God, and no one does good. That is why the only thing that matters is Christ. The gospel is good news for everyone, because it is the only message with the power to save people as lost and hopeless as this.

You and I cannot bring anything with us when we come to Jesus. As Isaiah puts it, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Christ alone is enough. He supplies everything we need. And to Him we owe everything. That is why, despite the bleak report on the condition of the human soul, David can look into the future with confidence and see Christ: “Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!” (Psalm 14:7). It’s God who will save His people. On their own, they can do nothing.

In understanding our lowly state apart from Jesus, we find that the gospel is both deep and wide. It goes deep enough to redeem us from the dregs of our depravity, and it goes wide enough to welcome people from every tribe, tongue, and nation under heaven into the kingdom. That is why Paul could say, “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22–24).

Jesus knows what we’re made of, and He loves us anyway—more than enough to save us, lead us, and transform us into something truly beautiful.


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