The writer of Psalm 14 laments that there’s no one in the world who does good. Being a Christian and trying to follow the high calling of Christ can feel terribly isolating at times. When I watch the news, it’s filled with tragedy, wickedness, and evil. Most of the time I feel as if newscasters are only spinning a tale intended to manipulate me. I sympathize, no… I empathize with the psalmist’s words.
Every one has proved faithless;
all alike have turned bad;
there is none who does good; no, not one. (Psalm 14:3)
Of course, this feeling of being alone in the desire to see a world without evil and tragic suffering, is the result of false perception. The prophet Elijah felt isolated and alone too! He cried out to God in anguish,
“The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (1 Kings 19:10)
Elijah felt alone and isolated in his zeal for the Lord. He felt threatened by the enemies of the Lord. And yet God told Elijah that there were 7000 in Israel who still revered the God of Israel. He was not alone at all… and God was with him.
The people of Israel were defeated by Babylon, a nation that seemed to devour every people and land it chose to subdue. In exile the people of Israel cried out, “How long Lord? Will you forget me forever??” (Psalm 13: 1) But the Lord does not forget us... even though we feel alone... even though we feel isolated among a people who have forgotten their creator. Far from it! God is always working out our redemption from our enemies, whether they be spiritual, or societal, or natural oppressors.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Isaiah writes of a deliverance coming for the exiled Hebrew people through a victor from the east. Who roused this conqueror? Why it is the Lord, the first and last, the Alpha and Omega! Listen to God speak words of assurance to His people.
Do not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
I know that Christianity is guilty of over-spiritualizing messages in the Bible. Surely it is true that the battle belongs to the Lord. We know that that battle is in the heart, but this battle against evil is not only a spiritual battle against evil inclinations. It is a battle waged in our very real world with all of its problems, tyranny, brutality, and want. Our hope is not only in a happy ever after in heaven. Our hope is now, even though we do not yet see what God is doing. We trust that God is with us and that God will deliver. He is our help and very present in times of trouble.
May the peace that comes through trust in God comfort and strengthen your souls.