The Godly and the Ungodly

In Psalm 12:1-2, the Psalmist says, “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.”

I don’t think I’m alone in noticing that we are living in dark times in America. Each day seems to bring with it new outrages. The Government no longer protects the people, but the people are increasingly forced to protect themselves from the government. I’ve heard our leaders speak glibly about going to war with a nuclear power that we were able to stay peaceful with throughout the Cold War. Our fellow-citizens take to the streets and adamantly demonstrate, not for righteous causes, but for the selfish right to dismember children while they are still in the womb. Men and women, not satisfied with dishonoring their own transgendered bodies among themselves, are now inflicting this madness upon their children! Homosexuality has proliferated throughout our culture so much so that it’s difficult to find a TV program without it, and Disney apparently has taken up the mantel of championing all things gay. It is only a matter of time before those churches that refuse to accept this behavior in their congregations will have legal action brought against them, as they’re already doing in our neighbor to the north, Canada.

Psalm 11:3 “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Times like these can certainly be discouraging.

In this month’s newsletter, I’d like to share some thoughts with you about this struggle between the godly and the ungodly. I was blessed recently to be reminded of a Psalm that seems as as if written for them.

Psalm 73:1-5 “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart, but as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.”

This has always puzzled me and I’m sure others. We ask ourselves, ‘Why are the wicked rewarded when the righteous struggle.’ It seems so unfair! Why would God allow this.

Psalm 73:6-9 “Therefore, pride is their [the ungodly] necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits [Wow!]. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.”

That’s an interesting phrase – “Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.” These are the moralizers; the virtue-signalers; the self-promoters. They are the ones in our modern culture who determine what is right and what is wrong, and it seems like they’re everywhere. We are constantly being lectured.

Psalm 73:10-12 “Therefore, their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?”

This is what the ungodly are like – always carefree, they increase in wealth.

There is no shortage of the rich in America these days. In fact, never before in the history of humanity has there been such wealth. For example, the three richest men of this country – Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gate are worth, $267.3 billion, $189.2 billion and $134 billion, respectively.

In an unguarded moment, a person might find himself envying these people.

Psalm 73:13-14 “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.”

Why do the ungodly prosper?

Psalm 73:15-17 “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me… till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.”

When we look at the world, we are disheartened, but when we look at God’s word and listen to his voice, we are encouraged. You see, perspective is a wonderful thing.

Ecclesiastes 6:6 “Even if [the rich man] were to live a thousand years twice over, he fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?”

We understand their final destiny, that place that all humanity goes. The grave. And without God’s grace in the person of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, life is without God and without hope.

Psalm 73:18-20 “Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.”

Is God impressed with the ungodly? Not even a little bit. God knows what is in mankind. Without his loving kindness and his mercy, there’s nothing for man but his demise.

Psalm 73:21-24 “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”

To be guided by God’s loving kindness and encouraged by his mercy, there’s nothing better than this. When the believer’s heart is where it should be, he’s overwhelmed with thankfulness and awe, that God would bless us as He does!

Psalm 73:25-28 “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”