The Rule of the Wicked

“The wicked will not rule the land of the godly,
    for then the godly might be tempted to do wrong.”
Psalm 125:3 NLT

This is an interesting verse with its thought about the wicked ruling a nation of Godly people. Back in the Old Testament days, the nation of Israel was at times a Godly nation, and ruled by Godly kings. But at other times it behaved in a wicked way, and from the Biblical accounts we see a succession of wicked kings taking the people into ever deepening levels of depravity. And there were times when the nation of Israel had a wicked king, but it contained Godly people. As I write this, I remember the story about Elijah who, after the Mount Carmel experience, was afflicted by depression, and he called out to God to take his life, saying he was the only Godly person left. And God later reminded him that there were 7,000 people in Israel who hadn’t bowed the knee to Baal. Godly people shining as beacons of God’s light in an otherwise wicked nation.

Britain used to be a Godly nation, in that it was through the influence of Christianity that many of our morals and laws were established. But recent global surveys have indicated that the UK is one of the most irreligious countries in the world, with less that 30% of the population claiming to be religious. And in addition to that, people claiming to be Christians in the UK make up less than 10% of the population. So perhaps it could be claimed that the sentiments expressed in this verse do not apply in the UK – perhaps we are already in a situation where the Godless rule a largely Godless nation. The wicked rule.

There is the story in the Bible, told in Genesis 18, of Abraham pleading with God over His proposed destruction of Sodom. It is a sobering thought, that God will not allow wickedness to continue for ever, though the glimmer of light was that He wouldn’t destroy Sodom if a very small minority of the people were righteous. We don’t know the population of Sodom at that time, so the percentage of righteous to unrighteous people can’t be calculated with any confidence. Jesus had something to say about the role of Christians in society and we read His teachings in Matthew 5. He said that we are “salt and light” in our communities. In our families. In our nations. What does that mean? It means we take every opportunity to propagate the goodness and Gospel of God wherever we are. But He also reminded us that if we don’t we are like salt that has lost its saltiness. A worthless commodity.

But back to today’s verse. Obviously, the Psalmist lived in an age when there were wicked leaders. And it is the same in the world today. The righteous leaders have always been greatly outnumbered by the unrighteous. So the verse must have a prophetic meaning. One day God will bring about His rule and reign in this world. The Ultimate Righteous Leader will rule and there will be no more temptation for His Godly people. The most popular prayer, the Lord’s prayer, petitions God to bring His Kingdom and will to this earth. And every year, every day, every minute, brings it a little closer. Come Lord Jesus!

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