Help, Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men. (v1)
Looking around in our modern day can reveal in us a similar sense of resignation. Our culture constantly pushes the boundaries of truth, ethics, and morality and proclaims each to be their own god who devises the appropriate framework for their lives. As we read the lament of Psalm 12 we find that not much has changed through the centuries.
The psalmist was not alone is lamenting the decadence of his society. The prophets spoke as boldly to these dangers in their time. Micah echoes the sentiments:
What misery is mine!
I am like one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard;
there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave.
The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains.
All men lie in wait to shed blood; each hunts his brother with a net.
Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts,
the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire— they all conspire together.
The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge.
The day of your watchmen has come, the day God visits you. Now is the time of their confusion.
Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend.
Even with her who lies in your embrace be careful of your words.
For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.
But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me. (Micah 7:1-7)
King David expressed the same trust – that God would restore the right balance, no matter how far the society tipped.
O Lord, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever,
The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men. (vv 7-8)
Our trust requires a long term perspective, an eternal kingdom perspective. How do you develop such a perspective? By learning and making your own the whole of scripture. A kingdom perspective is not formed from promise books and joyful passages alone, it must be refined in the furnace of reality. We may never escape the persecutors and deceivers that cross our path in this life but we can look forward to a new heaven and new earth in which they will not ‘strut about.’