The Few, The Righteous

One of Jesus’ more famous statements is found in Matthew 7:13-14:

13 Enter by the narrow gate; for wide [is] the gate and broad [is] the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow [is] the gate and difficult [is] the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. [Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV]

When examined in the light of Biblical history, “the few” becomes quite an interesting statement. Standing in a small crowd is not new for those who try to live righteous lives and follow God. Consider some of the following examples:

  • When God chose to bring judgment on the world in the form of the flood, only eight people (1 Peter 3:20 NKJV), Noah and his household, had enough faith to board the ark. The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly how many people inhabited the earth at the time of the flood, but considering people were living to be well over 900 years old, it seems reasonable to conclude that it was quite a large number. And, Noah had 100 years (Gen. 5:32Gen. 7:6) to preach to the people of his day (2 Peter 2:5). Can you imagine the scorn and ridicule that Noah faced as he built this huge boat when the world had never seen anything like the flood before (Hebrews 11:7)? And yet, he pressed on because of his faith in God.
  • What about Lot in the cities of Sodom and Gommorah? God would have spared those cities for the sake of only 10 righteous people (Genesis 18:20-33). But, Lot only left the city with his wife and two daughters (Genesis 19:16). His wife didn’t make it very far (vs. 26) and his daughters certainly were not righteous, causing their father to get drunk so they could bear children by him (vs. 31-38). How few were the righteous!
  • Then there was Caleb and Joshua. When the Israelites had an opportunity to take the land that God had promised them, they were the only two of twelve spies that believed they could take the land (Numbers 13:27-14:10). But, more significantly they were only 2 of over 600,000 soldiers (Numbers 2:32) who believed they could take the land God had given them. But, like Noah and his family, they were the only ones of their generation to reap the blessing of their faith. When the people were numbered again at the end of the wanderings in the wilderness, the numbers were similar (Numbers 26:51). However, Joshua and Caleb were the only two people still alive the second time the people were numbered (Numbers 26:64-65).
  • While other examples could be supplied (Elijah, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-Nego, etc.), the greatest example of standing alone is Jesus Christ, our Lord. When the time came for Him to face death the crowds of 5,000+ that once surrounded Him were gone. Even His closest followers had fled (Matthew 26:56), just as Jesus had predicted they would (Matthew 26:31). Peter went so far as to deny Him three times (Matthew 26:69-75). Jesus knew all this would happen, yet had clearly told his disciples He would not turn back from what He came to to do (John 12:27). As Jesus stood before the Jewish council, Herod, and Pilate, He stood completely alone. Aren’t we thankful that his willingness to sacrifice Himself for us was not dependent on whether or not others were willing to stand beside Him?!

Stop and think for a few minutes about times when being counted amongst a very few can tempt us to turn from that which is right. This is not a comprehensive list, but designed to give us pause before we give up our principles because we are among the few:

  • Being part of congregation that is small in number because they stand for truth and are unwilling to compromise the truths of God’s word.
  • Being amongst a small group in school willing to keep yourself pure until you are married. Or, refusing to fill your mind with porn and the filth of dirty jokes and movies.
  • Being one of few unwilling to wear immodest clothing or go to places where large groups of people dress immodestly (public swimming pools, water parks, the beach, etc.).
  • Being unwilling to engage in activities that encourage lust and lead to immoral behavior (cheerleaders, dance teams, dances, etc.)
  • Being unwilling to drink to and socialize in ways that are ungodly and lead immoral relationships (bars, dance halls, frat parties, make-out parties, being alone in tempting locations, etc.)

Dan Fontenot

(editor’s note: Verse references are clickable links that will open the verses in context in BlueLetterBible.org)

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