Help, LORD, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men. Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception. May the LORD cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue that says, “We will triumph with our tongues; we own our lips who is our master?” “Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,” says the LORD. “I will protect them from those who malign them.” And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times. O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever. The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men. (NIV)
As we faced another election year and the debate about who is right and best for the position we must consider verse eight of this psalm “the wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men”. As we take a look at the value system that is in place today we see a system that is very corrupt. In verse two David writes that everyone lies to his neighbor and their flattering lips speak with deception. This too seems to be present in our political and business world today. In II Timothy 3:1-5 Paul warns Timothy about times like David was facing “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, and conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God having a form of godliness but denying its power”. As I study David’s life I even see this deception happening in his own life as he tries to get Uriah to sleep with Bathsheba so that his child could seem to be Uriah’s son to cover up David’s sin. However when this did not work David arrange for Uriah’s death on the battlefield. Then, when Nathan confronted David with his sin and said to David “You are the man! David realized that he was guilty of the very principles that he tried to uphold. David’s repentance (see Psalm 51 and Psalm 32) is an example of the type of true repentance that we as believers must follow when we are confronted with our sin. However, today I believe we have departed from true repentance and are living in a culture were the wicked proudly strut about knowing that their actions are really honored in this society.
When studying the seven churches in Revelation two and three repentance plays an important part in the believer’s walk. These examples:
- To the church of Ephesus – Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.
- To the church of Pergamum – Nevertheless, I have a few things against you. Repent therefore!
- To the church in Thyatira – Nevertheless, I have this against you I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling; so I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.
- To the church of Sardis – I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent.
- To the church of Laodicea – I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
- How then does this story answer the question “Is living life and following God’s way simply a matter of if you do this then this will happen?”? The answer can be found in reading I Peter. According to I Peter 5: 8-9 we are to be “self-controlled and alert”. Why? Because our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. How do we react to the devil? Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because we know that our brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. So in evil times is your goal living a wonderful and bless life, or living a blameless life style as a witness of God’s working in your life? Knowing that the evil in this world will take advantage of our living a blameless life before God.
- Is there a difference between knowing God’s way and living in God’s way? Does living a righteous life style before God guarantee a wonderful and bless life? Is living life and following God’s way simply a matter of if you do this then this will happen? As I study the Psalms and the life of David I have come to realize that the answers to life’s tough questions are not simple. This Psalm deals with living in an environment where the godly are no more. It is an environment where everyone lies to his neighbor, is deceitful, where what is vile and wicked is honored among men. As I study I Kings chapter twenty-one see a picture of Israel that reminds me of this type of environment. To summarize this chapter we see four main characters: Naboth, Ahab, Jezebel, and Elijah. Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard to make himself a vegetable garden. Naboth told him no, this is my inheritance from my father and I will not sell it to you. So Ahab went home sad and angry. When Jezebel found out about this she took matters in her own hands and set Naboth up with made-up charges and had him killed. She then gave his land to Ahab. When Ahab went to see his new possession Elijah met him and proclaim God’s Word to him. Surprising Ahab humbled himself before God (something Jezebel would never do). To this God had mercy on him and did not bring the promise disaster during his life time. As I read this story the issues we face today in our society are similar to the issues that Elijah faced during his time on this earth.
- However, there are two churches that were not ask to repent: Smyrna “I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich!” and Philadelphia -”I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name”. It is interest that II Samuel 11:1 starts out with these words “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.” This verse set the stage for David’s fall. David was not doing what he was supposed to be doing, but left it to others. The churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia gives us examples what the church should be doing today. So as we take a look at the value system of nation we should look and study the seven churches of Revelation. Is our value system that of Smyrna and Philadelphia or is it like the value of the other five churches?