In the time of Moses: the parting of the Red Sea, leading the people of Israel to the promised land, and stopping to commune with God on Mount Sinai; even then people troubled themselves with disbelief. In Exodus 32 while Moses was on Mount Sinai preparing to come down with the tablets written with God's own finger, the people were nagging Aaron to make them idols to worship gods. And so he did.
They worshiped the golden calf. It wasn't that they were uninformed, Aaron included. Three months after they left Egypt, God had spoken to them, "...if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant..." (Exodus 19:5). And the people had responded, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do." (Exodus 19:8) One of the things was not to have gods or idols before Him. (Exodus 20:3,4) But, as soon as they thought Moses had been gone too long on Mount Sinai, their covenant with God went sideways. Wrong is still wrong even if everyone is doing it.
What a lesson to learn. They spent 40 years in the wilderness, most of them died there. Only their children, along with Joshua and Caleb entered the promised land. There is a cost. For them, it was wandering aimlessly and then dying. For today's generation there is still a cost.
St. Augustine also said, "The cost of obedience is small compared with the cost of disobedience." He also said, "Mankind is divided into two sorts: such as live according to man, and such as live according to God. These we call the two cities...The Heavenly City outshines Rome. There, instead of victory, is truth."
"In America, people are free to believe whatever they want to believe. But, in judgment, it'll be whether you believed in Jesus and his gospel." Pointed words from a pastor who understands and feels the same urgency of the many who have carried the word of truth to a dying world.
There's a common phrase among the young people of today. It's "You do you and I'll do me." Sounds not much different from the "Me Generation of not too many years ago. With this mindset many are headed straight for a devil's hell. Paul suffered from the same anguish as today's preachers. He says it quite eloquently in Romans 10. Verse 14 is the cry of the midnight rider, the charge of the preacher from the pulpit. "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"
Like Paul, Christians must endure to the end. God will give us the grace to do it. It is up to believers to step up and stand up for God. Get the message of salvation to all who will hear it--friends, family, strangers. The challenge is finding ways, praying, and inviting a disbelieving world to come to God's love while it is still available to them. Would that all could be saved. Second Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not lack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."