- Rick LoPresti
Not everyone fell
It is easy to lose sight of the good that is happening in our lives and in the world. The media constantly pump out negative reports about everything that is bad, and almost never talk about anything good. Bad news sells. We can get so used to knowing about the evil that paying attention to the good seems strange. Paul wrote about the Israelites who had just seen God do a series of mighty miracles and a grand scale for them which freed them from bondage in Egypt (Heb 3). They were in the wilderness en route to the land God had promised them 400 years earlier. This was only a 2 week journey. Yet they chose to continually focus on the negatives of their situation instead of seeing how God was miraculously providing for them. They chose to believe the evil report about the promised land instead the good one (Num 13-14). That turned their 2 week journey into a 40 year one, and all of the unbelievers over 20 died in the wilderness except the 2 men that had faith. Yet even in that bleak situation, Paul wrote that not all that came out of Egypt provoked God and fell, even if it was just 2 (Heb 3:17).
There are many such situations in the Bible where it looked very bad, but there was always some good to find. The whole world died in the flood, but 8 survived (Gen 6-9). Israel was in slavery in Egypt, but the midwives saved the children the Pharaoh order to be drowned in the river. One such child was Moses. The very river he was to drown in floated him to the daughter of the man who ordered his death, and she raised him as her own until the time of the promise. While the Israelites were worshipping the golden calf, Moses, Joshua, and the tribe of Levi chose God (Ex 32). Korah and250 priests rebelled and died, but there were over 21,000 that did not (Num 16). Korah's own children chose God over their own father and were saved. 11 psalms were written specifically for their desccendants to perform in the tabernacle 400 years later. Despite all of the times God judged the Israelites in the wilderness and many died including the original judgment of all those over 20, when they were numbered the second time just before the wilderness journey ended there were only 820 less people after 40 years. Paul also talked about the failings of Israel in the wilderness in 1Corinthians 10:5-10. He used the words many and some. Many and some are not all. When Elijah fled from Jezebel for his life and complained to God that he was the only believer left, God told him there were still 7,000 (1Ki 19:15-16, Rom 11:1-5). Manasseh was one of the most wicked kings of Judah, but even he repented (2Chr 33). Acts 14:15-18 says that God did not leave Himself without witness. From Acts 2 until today the church has always existed somewhere, even during the dark ages. A careful study of history shows that in every century there were apostolic Christians somewhere. We can even find good in the book of Revelation. Of the 7 churches in chapters 2-3, only one got no commendation at all. They were all offered repentance for the areas they needed to correct, and were all offered victory. There are also the 144,000 (chapter 7 and 14), the innumerable number in heaven (Rev 7:9-17), the 2 witnesses (chapter 11), those that got victory over the beast (Rev 15:2-4), the marriage supper and the triumphal return of Christ and the church (Rev 19), and the new Jerusalem (Rev 21-22).
When we hear reports that 10% are doing this or 20% are doing that, we can say 80 or 90% are not. We should not romanticize the past as some wonderful period where everything was so much better than now. in the 1700s, as many as 1/3 of children were were born less than 7 months after the wedding. In New York in the late 1800s, 1 of 6 women was a prostitute. Every time and generation has its issues, and this is not heaven. "Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this (Ecc 7:10)." Have faith in God and remember that He is in control, not the devil. It's not all bad. We need to see the good that is happening all the time right before our eyes. We decide what we focus on, and we can train ourselves one way or the other.