Happy New Year! I hope 2023 is off to a great start and that this year holds many blessings for you from the Lord. Thank you for your continued support and listenership of the Net Cast podcast.
As we continue in our series, "Psalms of Life", please have your Bibles open to Psalm 11. It is difficult to watch our nation, which was founded on biblical principles, become increasingly corrupt. We are reminded of the importance of a passage like Psalm 11 which asks the question, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? If the leaders no longer consult the word of God for guidance and instead live and lead contrary to it, what can the upright in heart do?
In today's message, we will address three things that the righteous can do as the world digresses into darker and deeper sins. We will find answers and provide hope for the days ahead.
Before we get started let's read Psalm 11 together:
“In the LORD I take refuge; How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain; For, behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string to shoot in darkness at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD’S throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face.”
Find Help in the Lord (vs. 1-2)
We don’t run from harm, but we trust in the Lord. How can you tell a child of God to flee to a high place to retreat from the plans of the wicked? For many people, the mountains in Palestine with its caves and clefts served as a place to retreat from an attack of an enemy. Lot and his family were told to flee to the hills to escape the pending judgement of God (Gen. 19:17). Jesus taught the Christians living in and around Jerusalem that when the destruction of Jerusalem would come, they should flee to the mountains (Mt. 24:16; see also Judges 6:2).
We are not like a bird that will get spooked by a passerby and immediately take flight to a high branch of a tree to avoid an attack. We trust in the Lord. While some people of God were forced to live in mountains and caves because of persecution or as some chose to go into these places for the sake of piety, we will not back down from enemies who threaten our lives (Heb. 11:38).
The wicked will always be ready to target the righteous, but we stand our ground for truth. Here it says that the wicked bend their bow, place an arrow on the string and prepare to shoot into the darkness at the hearts of the righteous. They ready their weapon and take aim, and we put up the shield of faith and begin to wield the sword of the Spirit in reply.
David uses the word “behold” to capture our attention to make sure we are aware of the schemes of these evil ones. If the wicked are always prepared to fire at us, we must stand ready to give an answer for the reason of the hope that is in us? We should be battle ready. I am not referring here to fighting against flesh and blood but against the powers of darkness. We must stand firm, fully equipped with the armor of God. We may lose our physical life, but we must preserve the soul.
Yet I fear that many Christians are hiding their faith and instead of confronting the darkness with light they are either joining the darkness of sin or hiding the light so as not to have to face conflict. The wicked are secretly preparing an attack and are attempting to pick off the godly one’s day after day. We cannot just be target practice for them. We must make a defense and prepare to stand for truth in all areas of life.
Remember Where God Resides (vs. 3-4)
Recently, it seems like the direction of our nation has deteriorated further.
The question is asked (by the same people who told the godly to run away) “if the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do?” In other words what will uphold you if the main support is removed?
This country was once founded upon godly principles and the Bible was at least consulted. Today, while many politicians claim to be "Christian", this is just to appease those who are following Christ that they might be a suitable candidate. We are crazy to put our trust in any man or woman. We go back to the foundation, not even the principles of the founding fathers, but to our Father in heaven and we seek for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. We do not trust in foundations laid by men, by we stand on the Rock, Jesus Christ, the only foundation for faith.
What if the government no longer allows religious freedoms and there continues to be laws made to protect and promote sinners and their sinfulness? What if our city streets are filled with violence, hatred, and murder, especially toward the upright in heart? What if…? None of that changes my position. As we stated earlier, we trust in and obey God rather than men.
The righteous have no other option than to seek security and safety in the Lord. While our physical circumstances on earth may change drastically to where we have no comforts here below, we long for the rest that will come from all our hardships here when we move into the presence of God. We look forward to a city whose builder and maker is God. We are the church; Christ is the foundation on which we stand and the cornerstone of our lives. We are a part of a kingdom that cannot be shaken. I shall not be moved! Kill my body but you have no control over my soul and my eternal destiny. Instead of taking flight to a mountain to find solace, the best course of action could be to shine as lights in the world amid a wicked and perverse generation that needs to hear the saving gospel of Jesus.
For many Christians, the leadership that was appointed over this nation in the past few years are repulsive. Whether you are for it or against it, you must pray for those in authority and lead a peaceful and quiet life of godliness despite who is in the Oval Office or any office for that matter. What does the psalmist offer as a solution? He makes two statements that solve the issue. First, God is in the temple of His holiness. He is Sovereign and most Holy and nothing that happens here will escape His just judgment. Secondly, he says that God is really in charge as he reigns from heaven. Elect a wicked man and God can still work. Look at Pharaoh. God hardened his heart to show His people His awesome power and glory. Do not be so distracted by who was voted into the White House. Look up and remember who is ruling over all created things as Lord of heaven and earth. To be fair, no matter who you liked in the Oval Office as president, they were not the Master of the Universe, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. We serve God as supreme over all. Heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool (Isaiah 66:1). The psalmist ends verse 4 by saying that God beholds all events with His eyes, and He tests the people of the earth. This leads us to the third point.
Know That the Lord Tests All People (vs. 5-7)
God sees all things and is fully aware of our situations in life. God is not out of touch, disinterested or unapproachable as ruler over heaven and earth. He asks us to come boldly to His throne of grace that we may find help in a time of need. He has a personal stake in our well-being, and He will see to it that all unjust actions are punished. We are made in the image of God, and this broke God’s heart to watch us rebel from Him in sin. God sent His Son Jesus to die for the sins of the world. Only those that obey Him will see life. Otherwise, the wrath of God abides on those that will not put trusting faith in Jesus. We are being tested (not tempted) by God to see how we will respond daily to our obstacles. He wants to know that we will serve Him faithfully even in tough times.
In Genesis 16:13, God is given the name the "God who sees me". This is just as true of our lives now as it was then. When God sees the wicked choosing their evil ways, He prepares a cup of wrath, fierce fiery winds that will rain on them like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah the brimstone of sudden destruction (Gen. 19:24).
On the other hand, the text verifies that the godly will behold the face of the Lord and He loves those that are righteous. God in His character is righteous and if we want to spend eternity with Him, we need to stand in His righteousness when the day of reckoning comes.
When God’s people reject His will and turn from righteousness, the Lord will punish His children. It is said of Israel, that often disobeyed the voice of God,
“Rouse yourself! Rouse yourself! Arise, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the LORD'S hand the cup of His anger; The chalice of reeling you have drained to the dregs.”
We can choose the cup of wrath or the waters of life freely. We can be loved or hated by God. We can find rest from our labors here or spend eternity separated from God in a place of unending torment where no rest can ever be found.
For those of us serving the Lord, while things in this wicked world cause us to lose hope and become discouraged from time to time, the image that should be before us always is what it is going to be like to come before the face of God and know that He is not angry with us but with His loving arms he embraces us and says, “Well done! Enter the joys of the Lord!” God will welcome all those that in every nation fear Him and work righteousness (Acts 10:35). The Lord loves righteousness.
If you are still lost in your sins because you have never responded to the good news about Jesus, I want to help you make the decision to become a child of God. If you believe what you have heard about Jesus being Lord and Savior and you are willing to turn from your sins and confess that Jesus is the Son of God, I want to help get you baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins and you will be saved.
If you are in Christ but you have been battling some sin or temptation to sin, I want to pray with you and ask God to cleanse you from any unrighteousness as you renew your commitment to Him and His body, the church.
How can I help? Please reach out via email through the contact page to learn more.