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Will the Faithful Disappear?

In this generation of increasing godlessness, we who are Christians can become discouraged if we do not keep our focus on the Lord (Heb. 12:2).  There is a rising tide of wickedness with the growing practice and acceptance of such sins as homosexuality, fornication, abortion, and other vile perversions that are shameful even to discuss.  Popular media and even our government attempt to influence us with messages that promote and celebrate these sins, and those who commit them are often portrayed as heroic and courageous.  At the same time, those who oppose and expose these sins according to the truth of God's word are vilified as intolerant, hateful, and ignorant.  In such a cultural climate, the faith of our families and the churches is being severely tested, and some are already failing.

These are the problems of our present age, but they are not new or exclusive to us. In fact, the wickedness of the world has been and will be a problem for every generation of the Lord's people. From generation to generation, the particular sins of any culture may vary, but the essence of the problem remains the same.  All that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1John 2:15), and these lusts along with those who practice them constantly threaten to consume the faithful.  It is our challenge to keep ourselves separate from the world as lights shining in the darkness (Matt. 5:14-15; 2Cor. 6:14-18; Phil. 2:15). This will be true until the Lord comes again.

As we combat the present forces of evil, let us look to the Scriptures and past generations of God's people who have endured the same troubles.  One passage to consider is Psalm 12.  These words were written around 3,000 years ago, but they are as relevant today as they were in the time of David.  Consider carefully these words:

1Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases to be,

For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.

2They speak falsehood to one another;

With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.

3May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,

The tongue that speaks great things;

4Who have said, "With our tongue we will prevail;

Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?"

5"Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy,

Now I will arise," says the LORD; "I will set him in the safety for which he longs."

6The words of the LORD are pure words;

As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.

7You, O LORD, will keep them;

You will preserve him from this generation forever.

8The wicked strut about on every side

When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

This passage may seem discouraging if we focus only on certain phrases ("the godly man ceases to be," "the faithful disappear from the sons of men," "the wicked strut about on every side," "vileness is exalted among the sons of men"), but these phrases only recognize the ever-present problem of this world. Instead, we should focus on the certain solution that is given in this psalm.  In response to a cry for help from the afflicted and the needy, God declares in verse 5, "Now I will arise...I will set him in the safety for which he longs." Notice that verse 6 declares that God's words are pure, meaning that there is not any contaminant of falsehood in them.  Therefore, the certainty for God's distressed people is stated in verse 7.  Regardless of the wickedness in any age and its apparent victory at the time, God will preserve His people from each generation forever.  There can be no better promise for deliverance than the certain guarantee of Almighty God.

Today, we should have the utmost confidence of our deliverance from this wicked generation, for Christ Jesus has died and arisen to give us victory over the world (1John 5:4-5).  Let us not become discouraged when "vileness is exalted among the sons of men," but instead let us cry out in prayer, "Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases to be, for the faithful disappear from among the sons of men."  Through the strength that God supplies, let us resist the devil so that the faithful will not disappear from among the sons of men.  Indeed, we must be faithful ourselves, "so that [we] will prove [ourselves] to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom [we] appear as lights in the world" (Phil. 2:12).

Stacey E. Durham



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