“Rescue those who are being taken away to death. Hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this’. Does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it? And will he not repay man according to his work?
– Proverbs 24:11–12
So I read these verses when I was hiking in the mountains of Nepal and seeing people who for generations have never heard the gospel. I was talking to people and village after village and when I would ask people, “What do you know about Jesus?” or “Have you heard about Jesus?”. And they would say, “Who’s that?” They had no knowledge of Jesus, of who He is and what He has done, how God has made a way for them to be saved from their sins. And so for generation after generation, these are people who are, in the words of Proverbs 24:11, “Being taken away to death”, like they are perishing every single day for lack of knowledge. They’ve never heard the good news of the gospel. And there are millions upon millions of people like that in the world. Approximately 2.8 billion actually, people in the world who have little to no knowledge of the gospel.
Proverbs 24:11–12 Calls Us to Spread the Gospel
God is calling people to rescue from death those who have never heard the gospel.
And Proverbs 24 makes clear that God is calling people to rescue them, to pull them back from death, to take the gospel, the good news of His love to them. And then verse 12 says, “If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this.’ Does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?” Like we cannot say that we didn’t know there were people in the world who didn’t know the gospel. Like I’m sharing this with you now. I know this in my life. You know this now.
There are people in the world, hundreds of millions of them, who have never heard the gospel. We can’t say we didn’t know this. The bible says, verse 12, “Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it? And will he not repay man according to his work?” In other words, we are accountable for what we do with this knowledge. This was so overwhelming, so sobering to read this and to realize in those mountains in Nepal that I have accountability before God for what I do with the knowledge I have, the knowledge that there are people in the world who’ve never heard the gospel.
Proverbs 24:11–12 Commands Us to be Faithful
I have the gospel. And I have a responsibility before God for working accordingly. And so do you. Everyone of us does. And so I want to encourage you today, you can’t say, I can’t say, “We didn’t know this”. We have been beckoned by God’s word to rescue those who are being taken away to death. And we will stand accountable to God according our work in response to that command. And so God, we pray. We know that we can’t say now and we won’t be able to say on the day we stand before you, “We didn’t know. We didn’t realize there were this many people in world who had little to no knowledge of the gospel”.
So we pray, help us. Help us to be faithful in proclaiming this gospel and proclaiming rescue from death to those who are being taken away to death. God, use our lives, our families, our churches, our resources to get the gospel to them, we pray. We pray that our work on the day we stand before you would be honoring to you with what we’ve done with what you’ve given us to make your rescue, your love, your redemption, your grace, to make the gospel known in the world around us, to those who’ve never heard it. God, use us toward that end, we pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.