This ancient and plaintive cry is as contemporary as the world around us, and when we consider, when we see, it pleads even now on behalf of those lost in darkness and oppressions.
Look! “All have turned away, all have become corrupt!” Sometimes it does seem so. “All” around us beg the mercy of “no restraints.” Are they the evildoers, the “all” whom have become corrupt, or are they the “all” that have stumbled, failed, grown faint, but are not cast headlong?
I would offer this possibility: if you love them, if I love them, they are not ALLtogether forsaken!
“All” we hear about is the destruction of families, values, just judgments, moral codes, respect for authority and so much more, but very little about the devourer who devours. He is the evildoer, whose chomping and grinding and swallowing up God’s people tears as through a loaf over dinner, and although such munching and crunching is all around us, but we are praying.
We can scarcely distinguish between the devourer and the loaf. Sometimes both want unrestricted access to unbridled predilections. How about the children of believers, out on their own, making destructive decisions, choosing ways that are as false today as they were in David’s time? How about our near neighbors, sometimes annoying, sometimes uncivil, disenfranchised, without civic responsibility? Our friends and their families, with one or two bad apples in every bushel? Are they excused because we care about them, even in their wrongdoing?
Why not? For such were some of us, unruly, unrestrained, ungodly, but now, we have found mercy.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.
For Jesus’ sake, Lord God, let the harvest be full and filled with those gathered in because we prayed.
Do all these evildoers know nothing?
They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on the Lord.
We acknowledge our inability to discern between the wicked and the could-be righteous in this life, but we take love as our guide, and we want to love as far and as wide as faith will sustain us.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
for God is present in the company of the righteous.
You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
but the Lord is their refuge.
Yes! The most hardened may become the most contrite, if You, O Lord, will cause Your glorious voice to be heard and Your fear to be gifted to those we love.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!
Willliam Holman Hunt, The Light of the World, between 1851 and 1856,
public domain, life of the artist, Wikipedia