If the Foundations Are Destroyed, What Can the Righteous Do? – Psalm 11:3

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“The word ‘foundations,’ in this psalm, refers to those things on which society rests, or by which social order is sustained – the great principles of truth and righteousness that uphold society, as the foundations on which an edifice rests, uphold the building. The reference is to a destruction of those things in a community, when truth is no longer respected; when justice is no longer practiced; when fraud and violence have taken the place of honesty and honor; when error prevails; when a character of integrity and virtue no longer affords any security.” Albert Barnes, 19th century American theologian (emphasis mine).

Barnes’ description in his comments on Psalm 11:3 about the destruction of a community’s foundations, describes our current, post-inauguration situation in America perfectly. If Barnes hadn’t died in 1870 I would swear he was observing the current scene in the United States. Does the psalmist attempt to answer this question he has asked? 

In verses 4-7, to conclude this short psalm, he does so. He reminds his readers “The LORD is in His holy temple, The LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men” (vs. 4).The Lord is still fully aware and in full control of all circumstances. He is testing His own people with these circumstances, and, “upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup”. (vs. 6). 

In other words, He Has a divine purpose for what is occurring in America for every individual who is living through it in our country, both Christians who are for Him and non-Christians who definitely are against Him. We can know exactly why this is occurring for us as His church. This is “test day” in America— for the purpose of helping us to see ourselves more clearly. 

That is exactly what a test does. It is for the student, not the teacher! The teacher already knows. Years ago, I can remember grading the tests from my chemistry classes on the bed at home. I would tell Jill  before I graded a paper what the student would make,  because I knew each one and their abilities very well. I rarely missed by more than a few points, and almost never by a full letter grade. I really didn’t need to test them, but they desperately needed the test so they could see where they were on the road to mastering high school chemistry.

So, how are we responding in our lives to God’s current test? Are we hiding in fear, not involved, wishing it would all go away and things would “return to normal?” Or are we self-righteously “above the fray?” “After all, politics is a messy business, and I’m too holy to get my hands dirty.” 

If we have either of those responses, we are probably not even aware that this is a subconscious way for us to evade the current battle. The mission that lies before us, and for which we were created, will involve a fierce spiritual battle against our defeated enemy, Satan and his guerrilla resistance forces. They, the world’s “principalities and powers,”  are fighting a desperate delaying action as we attack. The mission we are on is expressed in the Old Testament as, to “rule over the earth” (Genesis 1:26), and in the New as, to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19). How can we repent when we are unaware that the problem (the sin) is our refusal to fight?

But God is at work, using conflicts like the one today in America. He has purposely brought this to us, His church, to get each of us ready to join Him in the family business of ruling over the earth. However, that will occur only after we have been tested, exposed, and are humbly repentant. 

Here is what joining Daddy in business looks like (I have mentioned this before, but in this context today, it must be repeated):

1. Stand – Paul says in Ephesians 6:13, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”  

The armor Paul mentions in this passage is all exclusively defensive, except for “the sword of the Spirit, the word of God,” which is used for both offense and defense. Our job in the battle, initially and primarily, is to defend what Jesus has already given us—to stand against Satan’s deception and lies and never give an inch.

That is always done with love, compassion, understanding (God opens all our eyes to His truth at different times and in His own way) and never with anger, but never, ever yielding to Satan’s attacks. 

2. Proclaim – But we do not necessarily do so quietly. We do not assault people with what we see as truth, but that does not mean that we must shut up. “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). We speak truth at every opportunity, to all who will listen: “Jesus is the King over the earth. He has redeemed you from a life of sin. Believe it, repent for your sin, and come stand with us, as His growing army defeats the enemy and rules over the earth for King Jesus, by His law!

We are winning! God is never a front-runner, nor a blow-hard braggart. As the Son of God died on a Roman cross, it looked to be history’s greatest defeat. All seemed lost to all who loved Him and who were His followers. But it was, in fact, history’s greatest triumph!

In God’s upside down world, death produces life, serving produces leading, losing produces winning, and sin produces righteousness. Come, join with us in this His “ultimate intention.”

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