Our Spiritual Compass

Yael Eckstein  |  June 7, 2020

Young woman with scripture at the Western Wall.

The fool says in his heart,
  “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
  there is no one who does good. — Psalm 14:1

In honor of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and his lifework helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.

During an interview with a famous comedian who is notoriously anti-religious, the interviewer asked the person about her relationship with her sister, a devout believer. In answer, the comedian described a conversation that the two had about God. “I mockingly said, ‘Do you really believe that there is some God in the sky? Like there is someone watching us? That’s ridiculous!’ My sister took it in and softly said, ‘Personally, I like to live my life as though there is one.’”

When the comedian remarked that her sister’s response left her speechless, the interviewer said, “But you kind of do that, too — you’re a good person!” The comedian replied, “Well, yeah – you don’t have to believe in God to be good.”

Really? Is that true?

In Psalm 14, King David wrote, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” Certainly for the psalmist, there was a clear connection between belief in God and being good.

A person who doesn’t believe in God can do whatever he or she wants. There is no one and nothing obligating that person to be “good.” And how do we define good anyway without an objective standard? What is considered bad in one society might be accepted as good in the next. So, while there may be plenty of nice people who are not believers, a society of non-believers lacks a moral compass. It’s a slippery slope to a state of total corruption devoid of goodness.

However, there is an important message on the flipside as well. If non-belief can lead to evil, then belief should lead to goodness. For the believer, righteousness and morality must be the guiding light for his or her life. Moreover, it follows that the more we deepen our faith, the more righteous we become. The Jewish sages taught, “Reflect on three things and you will never come to sin: Know what is above you — a seeing eye, a hearing ear, and all your deeds recorded in a book.”

This week let’s try to increase our awareness of God. Remember that He is watching and listening and recording – whether we are at work, at home, in the store, anywhere! If we can heighten our awareness, we will inevitably elevate our actions as well. When we know that there is a God, we will live life accordingly.

Your Turn

As we celebrate the men in our lives today, enjoy a complimentary download of our “Man of Faith” devotional booklet.