Help, O LORD, for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth! - Psalm 12:1
When Portuguese sailors arrived at the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean in 1507, they saw a large, rather clumsy bird called the dodo. It weighed approximately fifty pounds, had a huge black bill and blue-gray plumage. But it had one fatal shortcoming—it couldn’t fly. Its short stubby wings were not made for aviation. This may well have contributed to its demise. Long before we began to think about endangered species, the dodo had disappeared entirely and only fragmented remains of the bird are to be found as relics in European museums. Hence the expression, “As dead as the dodo.”
The dodo was not one of the most beautiful birds in God’s creation, but it is sad that it became extinct. It had a role to play, and in its demise the whole of creation is a little poorer. While environmentalists have worked hard to preserve disappearing species, often to the chagrin of land developers, the steady march of “progress” has contributed to the relentless trend of environmental regress. The dodo is not the only thing that is dead forever.
David worried about another possible endangered species. He called out, “Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth!” (Ps. 12:1). No doubt we can grant David some poetic license here—the faithful have not completely vanished from the earth. But from where he was standing, he was beginning to wonder. The trends were all in the wrong direction.
David specifically mentioned the issue of lying. “Neighbors lie to each other, speaking with flattering lips and insincere hearts” (12:2). He talked about “this lying generation” and grieved not only that the people thought truth was irrelevant, but also that they brazenly said, “We will lie to our hearts’ content. Our lips are our own—who can stop us?” (12:4).
Godly people don’t lie, because they believe that truth is precious and that people are important. The person who lies demeans the one lied to. Lying is designed to gain an advantage or to avoid valid repercussions of wrongdoing. Godly people think too highly of others to want to gain an unfair advantage over them, and they know that wrongdoing has consequences which they should rightfully bear. So they don’t lie.
In our day, as in David’s, truth is not honored, lying is endemic, relationships are being destroyed, society is fragmenting, godliness is discounted, and the future looks bleak. We should pray, “Help, O Lord, the godly are an endangered species!” And we should seek to live truthfully ourselves.
For Further Study: Psalm 12:1-8