"Help, Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men." Psalm 12:1 (niv)
The psalmist penned this startling observation in his day where amongst Israel there were few who could be seen as godly. God had always risen up some men who would do great exploits for Him, who were dead to the pleasures and pleasing of men. Who loved God alone and heeded to His voice. The cry went out, where are the godly men? Where are the Jeremiahs, Elijahs, Prophets? Sadly we can also see how this is true for us in our current situation of Christendom. Another translation uses the word "vanished" which carries the weight of the predicament that the Psalmist writes about. With a great heritage of Christianity behind us of many men who gave their entire lives for the Gospel we all know about, but to see the same quality of men in our day is something rarely seen. This scripture should startle us into the reality of the problem of our day, it should stir us to prayer for the current estate of Christianity.
C.H. Spurgeon properly responds to this verse with: For the godly man ceases; the death, departure, or decline of godly men should be a trumpet call for more prayer. Where are the men of God in our generation that are likened to the apostles, prophets, and believers of God in the Scriptures? Those who walked after God in the power of God's might, authority and calling. We are not speaking of nominal Christians that have the calling to be conformed into the image of Christ. But we are speaking of men who have heard the call of God to suffer the loss of all things for Christ. Who have seen the goal to reach this lost generation with the eternal Gospel as the only reason for living. For such men there are great rewards but also great momentary loses to be suffered here first.
We are called to be strangers in this world a people set apart to God and His purposes. We can easily name so many that have come to the place of usableness by God: Moody, Finney, Wesley, Whitefield, Payson, Bounds, Ravenhill, and the list goes on. It seems like there has been an ending of a line of men that were born not of this world, who were peculiar to the ways and habits of this world. By God's grace these men lost sight of the world's esteems, ambitions and goals. Men of another sort that were so heavenly minded they were of no earthly use, cherishing and glorifying Christ as their entire purpose in life.
Just looking at the List found in Hebrews chapter 11 gives you a picture of a people that God could unashamedly call His own. God desires to make a Name for Himself in the earth. God is looking people who have given up on their trying and have allowed God to have their all! Leonard Ravenhill said he could read Hebrews chapter 11 everyday and weep over it. "The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground." Hebrews 11:38 (niv). They wandered around, sojourning as a different race of men, as godly men. Are you willing to suffer the same cost of this type of godly life? Does suffering from your current life-style and favour with men sound like something you are willing to lose?
"Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection." Hebrews 11:35 (niv) Oh the stubbornness of their testimony and belief in Christ, they were not willing to accept defeat knowing they were serving the Lord Jesus Christ who was victorious. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder imagine it! not with a metal saw but wooden saw, can we accept this as normal Christianity? Are we willing to suffer for the Lord that suffered so much for us? Where is the faithful remnant of called ones who God will raise up to accomplish His great purposes in this generation.
Do you hear the call from God's Spirit to your heart child of God? Join with the band of men who the world is not worthy of but who are esteemed in heaven! Only by God's grace can we hear such a call and follow. But my friend it will be worth it in the end. What suffered here on earth will matter when you are in heaven with endless bliss, worship and joy in the presence of the Lord. What little sufferings they will be thought of, but what grief for some who hear the call but went back, who left the hand from the plow for some lesser pleasure, goal and aim. May Jesus Christ arrest our Spirit's by His love and allow us to walk the narrow way of the calling He has for each one of us. Amen.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon