Citizens of the City
See Psalm 55:9–11
Long before Jerusalem fell to invaders, corruption had undermined the strength of its foundations. Jerusalem had been built as a place to honor and praise God; it was a citadel of peace, a place that protected the innocent and weak and promoted justice and godliness. Yet when the leaders of the city forgot God and began to honor only themselves, then “malice and abuse” began to roam within its walls; then the destructive forces of “violence and strife” came out of hiding, and “threats and lies” replaced truth and righteousness.
This persistent pattern of man betraying his Creator can be traced back to the biblical account of the cities of the plains: “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me” (Genesis 18:20–21).
Sadly, what he found was worse, and even though he would have shown mercy if a few righteous men were found there, He found an utterly godless place where all “are corrupt and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good” (Psalm 53:1).
When men fall into full rebellion against God through sin, then the consequences are predictable; only the timing is not. As citizens of the city, we should always remember the pattern of drift and decline and turn back to God in all haste: “Put on sackcloth, O priests, and mourn; wail you who minister before the altar. . . . For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty” (Joel 1:13, 15).
—Eric Kampmann, Signposts