Psalm 12:8 – “The wicked prowl on every side, when vileness is exalted among the sons of men.” NKJV
I had a person tell me that they didn’t like “hellfire and brimstone” preaching and was so glad that the modern church is now presenting a much more sanitized version of the gospel. This individual stated they did not like hearing things called sin for sin was an ambiguous term and drove people away from the church rather than drawing them to it.
That conversation caused me to meditate and contemplate on the state of my own life, my nation, and the church. It sent me back to the Bible to examine that view and caused me to ask other ministers their views. I proceeded to question churchgoers as well as non-churchgoers what they thought about this matter. After that, the Holy Spirit whispered in my spirit and heart, “What do you think God thinks about it?” Whoa, Nellie! That arrested me like nothing I had heard from those I spoke to. That was the heart of the matter and where the rubber truly meets the road. WHAT DOES GOD THINK?
I would suggest that is the question regarding every question of life. Once we determine what God’s Word says and through prayer determine the heart and mind of God, we have a clear path or direction, or we should.
Let’s take the text and examine the thought presented that the wicked, not just wickedness or sin is present and prevalent WHEN vileness is exalted among men. We are living in a time when evil is called good and good is called evil. Many in our society from politics to pulpits have abandoned some of the central teachings of God’s Word. They have adopted a view of reinterpreting the clear declarations of God on various matters and no longer identify them as sin. Some have sought to sanitize the Gospel to make it less bloody and less constraining. Please understand, I do not like to hear someone preach ‘hellfire and brimstone’ without a broken heart and without the clear view and objective of redemption.
It has been said, “What we allow in moderation or children will do in excess.” The Psalmist warned that if we exalt or give place to vileness among men and justify, excuse, or ignore sin and evil the wicked gain prominence and power. In that place of power they plunge our world deeper and deeper into a depraved state opening the door for wickedness of all kinds.
Those evils and wickedness not only become prominent but acceptable or non-troubling to our sense of rightness and godliness. We have become so desensitized by the incessant barrage of language, violence, corruption, and lasciviousness through Hollywood and television many are no longer troubled and grieved in their hearts by what is happening in our world.
I cannot imagine that God is so desensitized, and I truly believe that His heart is grieved when “vileness is exalted”. Why would we be told to “shun and flee the very appearance of evil” if evil was not like leaven with corruptive power? Why would we be told to “come out from among them and be separate” if there was not a corruptive influence in the ways of the world? Why would we be instructed to “be holy for I am holy” if there was no redemptive value in holiness and godliness?
If we fail to paint sin as it truly is with its corruptive and destructive influence we do great harm to the church and the world. When we fail to identify the reality and eternality of hell, as well as the beauty and wonder of heaven, people tend to diminish, justify, and excuse behavior that violates God’s person, character, and word. Conviction will fail to grip the heart because they have been or are being told that it’s just part of human nature to be, think, and do those things.
I am not suggesting legalism, but I am promoting preaching the Cross with its gruesomeness for “without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” Without the Cross, there will be no Crown. Without the Cross, there is no satisfaction of Divine Justice and the open door to pardoning for whosoever will that comes and calls on the Lord.
We wonder why our world from Wall Street to Main Street, from the White House to the Tenement House, and from the President to the Average Joe on the Street is in the state it is in where evil is prevalent and the Wicked seems to be ever gaining power, influence, and strength. It is we have allowed “vileness to be exalted among men.” Therefore, it is high time that we awaken from our slumber and return to the Cross and God.
God bless you as you make a reaffirmation of your faith and receive a rekindling of His Grace in your heart and life!