If for some reason, you ever want excuses to be depressed, you need only watch the news for five minutes, and you’ll find more than enough. It seems like America and humanity in general just can’t get it together. Between the various social issues, geo-political conflicts, and existential crises looming on the horizon, it can sometimes feel like we are all hurtling towards oblivion. To make things worse, we don’t see a trend of people turning to God in these trying times. Unfortunately, people are abandoning the faith. This blog has noted that fact on several occasions. There are probably a variety of things to blame for the trend, but whatever the cause of people turning away from God, we can be sure it’s not something that pleases him.
It’s easy for us to look at today’s world and feel like things are uniquely bad, but the truth is the world being in crisis is nothing new. Ask the elders and they can probably give you two or three examples from their long lives of other times in the past when it felt like everything was going down the drain.
These ups and downs seem to be an intrinsic part of the human experience. Read the Bible, and you’ll come to understand that all of it is a product of sin. You’ll also realize that the madness is something that’s been there almost from the start. While the New Testament gives us the blueprint for being a Christian, the Old Testament helps us understand why such a blueprint is necessary. It does that primarily by using the Hebrews as an example, and what an example they are. To get a good understanding of what the world and even God’s people were like during those times, we need only look at the words of David, perhaps Israel’s greatest king.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on the Lord.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous.
You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad! – Psalm 14
The modern world didn’t create the concept of rejecting God. People have been doing it throughout the ages. Even back when God was making his presence known in the most in-your-face ways, his people still turned away from Him. The people in power used that power to mislead and abuse those under them. The world and many of the people in it were corrupt. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
Like all other Psalms, this set of verses is meant to be a song, and it goes to show that not every song in service of God is meant to be uplifting or joyous. Sometimes our songs need to deliver cold hard truths. Sometimes the songs have to be about the way things are and not just about the way they should be. We hear plenty of songs about people searching for God, but how often do we hear songs about God looking for us? In David’s time, the world was full of evildoers but God still looked down on it wanting to find those who were seeking Him. The psalm also lets us know that even if those who seek Him are like small islands in an ocean of wickedness, God is with those people. He is their protection. He is their salvation
These same sentiments apply to us today. Many people proudly proclaim that there is no God. They dismiss the idea of following God’s laws or striving to live righteously. Why put such shackles on yourself in service of a being that does not exist? That’s what they’d argue, and look what that mindset has wrought. We see what humanity does when it lives by its own rules.
Those who believe should keep the faith. David’s song seemed bleak, but it reinforced the fact that God was there even when people didn’t believe. He supported those that sought him, and the same is true today. If your heart is with HIm, He is with you. The world may not have been that much different before, but we are because we have access to the Holy Spirit. Jesus died for us and through his death we have been equipped with everything we need to thrive despite the hardships we face. There is no reason to question whether God is with us. Every believer already has access to Him, and He has the power to conquer the world’s trials. Jesus said as much to his followers, and his words still ring true today.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33