Not only do we never learn, but the second thing that is said about us in this stanza is that we are occasionally "overwhelmed with dread" (v. 5). The psalmist expresses this in a strange way, saying literally, as the New International Version indicates: "There they are, overwhelmed with dread…" which has led many writers to wonder what specific "there" he is referring to. Where does this take place? When is the moment at which those who deny God are so moved? Some have suggested that this is fear which will emerge only at the Final Judgment. It is what Jesus seemed to speak of when he described the ungodly crying out for the mountains and hills to fall upon them and cover them in that day (Luke 23:30). Others have suggested that it is fear evoked by some calamity, as in Addison's story about the panicked sea passenger.

The third stanza of Psalm 14 describes the way of the fool, which we have now seen to be the way of the entire human race apart from God's special, saving intervention. There are two things said about us. First, we never seem to learn. We are practical materialists; that is, we are relentless in our efforts to use others for our advantage, profiting from them. We will not learn that "man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord" (Deut. 8:3; cf. Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4). And we are prayerless. We "do not call on the Lord," because we believe that we can manage very well without him.

Having allowed us to listen in as the fool speaks about God, David now permits us to listen as God speaks about the fool. This true and discerning judgment is expressed in the next two verses, where David describes the Almighty as "bending over to look down from heaven upon" this folly (vv. 2, 3). The words remind us of God descending from heaven to observe the folly of those building the tower of Babel (Gen. 11:5) or looking down upon the wickedness of the race prior to his judgment by the Flood (Gen. 6:5).

But perhaps the evidence for God is not clear, one might object. Or perhaps the human being just does not have the capacity for perceiving or understanding the revelation. That will not do, says Paul, for God has made the revelation of himself so clear that it has, in fact, been clearly seen and understood by all, so that they are without excuse for failing to seek God out and then praise and thank him. His words are: "What may be known about God [that is, from nature] is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (vv. 19, 20). According to these verses, the revelation of God in nature is not hidden so that only a highly skilled scientist may find it. It is open and manifest to everyone. A child can see it. There is enough evidence of God in a snowflake, a fingerprint, a flower, a drop of water to lead any honest member of the human race to believe in God and worship him. Every single object in the world shouts "God" to humanity.

The Bible is a big book, but when you think about it there are not many things in the Bible that are said, word for word, more than once. If the words are repeated, it is for emphasis. They are very important. How much more, then, if they are repeated more than once? What if they are found three times? This is the case with Psalm 14. Psalm 14 is repeated almost entirely in the book of Psalms itself. Psalm 53 is a nearly exact duplication. Then the most important part of Psalm 14 is repeated again in Romans 3:10-12. In fact, the great first chapter of Romans is actually an explanation of these words.