“The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart; and devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from evil, he enters into peace; they rest in their beds, each one who walked in his upright way.” (Isaiah 57:1-2)The natural progression in life is downward. Mankind, left to himself, will always progress from sin to more sin. His morals will continue to decay until he reaches the depths of depravity. Even cultures experience this kind of decay. We don’t have to look far to see societies that once prospered under a Christian influence but which now have slipped backwards into institutionalized secularism. We see this same pattern of decay though out the biblical history of Israel. They would experience a time of spiritual renewal but, over time, would inevitably regress back to serving idols and worshiping false gods. Over and over God would come to their aid, and they would repent and change their ways, only to fall away again, back into a lifestyle of sin and debauchery. Peter spoke of this decay, referring to “the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2 Peter 1:4) All people and all societies, apart from the continual influence of God, are destined to decline and to morally progress downward.
This scripture speaks of such a time of decay in the nation of Israel. Righteousness was declining. Society was cleansing itself of the “trappings” of morality. There was no longer the need or want for the influence of righteous and moral men and women. As the righteous influence of God was being drained away from their nation, hardly anyone gave notice or care. Our country is experiencing this same kind of decay. The division between those who hold to traditional Judeo-Christian values and those who espouse secular humanism is widening. There is a growing number within our culture who actually look forward to the day when America might become a secular nation. A day when America might follow after other, older, nations who have left the confines of Christianity to find their “freedom” in secularism.
The righteous parish, but who cares? God cares! God cares for both the life of the righteous and the life of the nation. We are reminded that “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.” (Psalms 116:15) God sees and He cares. Even this scripture encourages us that, for the righteous, in their death they shall find rest and peace with God. Our standing with God and our reward with Him is not dependant upon the course our nation chooses. God also cares for our nation. Many times He called back the nation of Israel, promising, if “My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) There is always hope. Even in the worst of times, when the days seem their darkness, there is still hope. Let us not loose heart, let us turn to the Lord, let us entreat His mercy, and ask Him to heal our land.