Recently our family visited the Bronx Zoo. As we enjoyed the monorail and the many various animal sightings, our conductor pointed to a small herd of horses that were in danger of extinction. However, now they are breading and being reintroduced to the wild. There had been a great concern that these kinds of horses would cease to be. If those horses were capable of self-consciousness and awareness of their plight we might image them saying “Help, our kind ceases to be!”
A vast and increasingly world-wide moral social transformation is happening before our eyes. Our culture seems to delight more and more in what is wicked. In fact, increasingly what we see around us is that the general populous of our nation disregards God’s righteous judgment against their sin. Though they know that what they practice is worthy of judgment, they encourage their practice on others. In other words, increasingly you cannot simply have a civilized tolerance of what others in society practice in opposition to God’s Word, but you must actually celebrate their wickedness (See Romans 1:32).
With that in mind do you ever feel as if the godly are going into extinction? Do you ever feel like David did in Psalm 12:1? Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases to be, For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
As you feel this way, can you like David list the mounting evidence that ungodliness is flourishing? They speak falsehood to one another; With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak. 3 May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, The tongue that speaks great things; 4 Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail; Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?” (Psalm 12:2-4).
If so, you cannot stay there. David did but didn’t stay there. In fact, God breathed out David’s experience so that we could be shepherded through those feelings to the facts of who God is, what He is doing and how that ought to stabilize us as we look at the wickedness around us and feel more and more alone. After expressing his feelings that the godly are going into extinction, David continues and by faith acknowledges that the LORD has not abandoned the godly: “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.” 6 The words of the LORD are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times. 7 You, O LORD, will keep them; You will preserve him from this generation forever (Psalm 12:5-7).
Do you recognize how David battles his feelings that the godly are going into extinction? First, David reminds himself that the LORD (that is the covenant keeping God!) will arise. He sees His afflicted godly ones and He sees all their needs. In fact, David can claim God’s promise in this area. A promise that blessedly contradicts his feelings (that is the great reality about God’s promises. They expose our feelings as the paper mache they are). He reminds himself that the LORD will keep “them” (v. 7). That is, the LORD will keep the godly who are increasingly the afflicted and needy because of the increasing wickedness around them. No only does David call to mind this promise, he reminds himself how sure the Word of God is. In other words, how sure that very comforting promise is. He says The words of the LORD are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times (v. 6) and then he says You, O LORD, will keep them; You will preserve him from this generation forever” (v. 7).
So the next time you start to feel as if the godly are going into extinction walk through this Psalm. Will it take away the struggle in your heart? Yes! At least momentarily. But the feelings will in all likelihood make a return visit at some point. A good indication that David experienced this as well is the way in which Psalm 12 ends: The wicked strut about on every side When vileness is exalted among the sons of men (Psalm 12:8). So what do you do when the hope of these truths starts to dissipate and you once again feel overwhelmed by the strutting of the wicked around you? You do the same thing you do with a song you really like to listen to. You put it on repeat. And what you will be reminded of as you once again grapple with the wicked’s strutting is that God hears, He will arise, He keeps the godly, and you can be sure of it because His Word is not like that of the wicked’s-His Word is pure.