Summary: It seems like the society we live in continues to worsen every day. David felt the same way about the day he lived in. By looking at how David handled his ungodly surroundings, we can get some clues as to how we should respond to ours.
LIVING IN TROUBLED TIMES
Text: Psalm 12
It was a dangerous time. The nation was under attack from all directions. Leaders were corrupt and did many vile things. The religious leaders were unfaithful to God, and led God’s people astray. People were killing their own family members. Those in power were defiling themselves with alcohol and prostitutes. Deceit and treachery were rampant. Human life was not valued. No one could be trusted.
Sounds a lot like today, doesn’t it? Would it surprise you to find out that I am talking about what was going on in Israel 3000 years ago? The last verse of the book of Judges summarizes the times very well, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25) It was during times like this that Saul became the first king of Israel.
Saul was the people’s choice, not God’s choice. Saul made mistake after mistake, and eventually fell out of God’s favor. David was selected by God to be the king of His people, and after defeating Goliath on the battlefield as a lowly shepherd, David became popular with the people and with Saul. As the crowds praised David more and more, Saul became jealous and began to hate David. He tried to kill David on several occasions. David had to flee for his life. Some think that it was during this time that David wrote Psalm 12.
David complains to God about the spiritual condition of his people. “Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth! Neighbors lie to each other, speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts.” (Psalm 12:1, 2) David feels alone, as if he is the only righteous person left in the land. The people were doing whatever they wanted. The king was corrupt and trying to kill him. The king’s advisors were telling lies about David, and trying to flatter their way into a favored position on the king’s cabinet. David goes on to describe their arrogance and pride, “May the Lord cut off their flattering lips and silence their boastful tongues. They say, “We will lie to our hearts’ content. Our lips are our own – who can stop us?”” (Psalm 12:3, 4)
God hears David’s prayer, and answers him in verse 5. “The Lord replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do.”” David expresses his confidence in God and his promised deliverance. “The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over. Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation, even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land.” (Psalm 12:6 – 8)
So what does this Psalm have to do with us today? We live in troubled times just like David did. Listen to how the apostle Paul describes the days that he lived in 2000 years ago. I want to read this to you in a modern translation. “You should also know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control; they will be cruel and have no interest in what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” (2 Timothy 3:1 – 5) The “last days” that Paul is describing is the time period between the first and second comings of Christ. He was living in the last days, and so are we. Reading this scripture is like reading the newspaper.
Let me describe the way things are in the United States of America, in the year 2011. We live in a time when it is not popular or politically correct to be a follower of God. God and His people are mocked by the media. We are portrayed as narrow-minded, bigoted, judgmental, and self-righteous phonies. Christian values and morality are scoffed at, and organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation push legislation to ban the 10 commandments, religious holidays, and prayer in public places. They are trying to pass laws that will make it illegal for pastors and churches to speak out against homosexuality and other sinful behavior.