The Godly Man Ceaseth

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Sometimes when we look at the society around us, we ponder: “where have the morals gone?” In our minds, it seems that there was a time when more of our neighbors seemed to be upright.

Just the other day, an elderly brother was asked, “Were people better when you were younger?” His basic answer: “People were no different. Today there are just more people.” This brother’s statement gave me reassurance and helped me keep things in perspective.
Interestingly enough, when we read Psalm 12, the writer considers this very same problem: the unrighteousness that surrounds us.

From the KJV, Psalm 12.1 reads: “Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.” Another version states it like this: “Help us, LORD! There is not a good person left; honest people can no longer be found.” From this verse we can see that godly people, God-fearing people, have always been concerned about their society.

What is striking is that within the same verse the writer calls out to God for help. The writer could be referring to spiritual help, but it seems to be referring to God helping with the immediate problem of the ungodliness that surrounded the writer.

Within Psalm 12, the writer describes the ungodly as people who:

  • Psalm 12.2 – speak vanity; use flattery; and double talk
  • Psalm 12.3 – speak proud things
  • Psalm 12.4 – have confidence in their speech
  • Psalm 12.4 – believe they answer to no one
  • Psalm 12.8 – reside everywhere because vile men are honored

Does this situation sound familiar? Without thinking too long, we can easily identify examples that will fit the above descriptions. We, like the Psalm writer, struggle with the unrighteousness that surrounds us.

What an amazing encouragement is found in Psalm 12.5. With this verse we understand that God sees the oppression of the poor and the sighing of the needy. But God is not a God that sits idly by and passively allows His children to suffer. He is the God that helps His children. God says that He “will arise” and “place [the godly] in the safety for which he longs” (ESV).

Further encouragement comes because we are reassured that God’s Words are pure, purified beyond pure (Psalm 12.6) and that God will keep the righteous and will guard the righteous from the ungodly (Psalm 12.7).

Psalm 12 does not specify the type of help God will give the righteous. But we are reassured that God will provide the help we need so that we can be delivered from the ungodliness that surrounds us.