Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Psalm 11

In Yahweh I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain, for, behold, the wicked bend their 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?”

Yahweh is in His holy temple; Yahweh’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.

We live in a time when it appears as if the foundations are destroyed – what are we to do? Foundations of the recognition of objective transcendent truth, morality, ethics; as Isaiah writes: we call good evil and evil good. We look within the professing church as well as outside and it appears to some of us as if a tsunami has removed the old markers from the landscape. Of course we are not the first people to have this experience and it may be that we are not the last – for the times and seasons of this planet and its people are in God’s hands.

Having written the above I should point out that what is a tsunami to some is welcome relief to others and normative to still others. If you grow up in moral and ethical and spiritual chaos do you know it? If you grow up in amorality can you recognize the difference between the moral and the immoral? There is ample evidence that when the professing church practices amorality that it no longer sees morality in the Scriptures – simply witness within the professing church the prevalence of sex outside of marriage and engagement in entertainment with unholy sexual content. No doubt these words seem quaint to some and out-of-date to others while others may read them with some embarrassment that I would write them – my point is made.

Then there are those who think that they have no option but to flee as a bird, to get away from it all. There are many ways to run away. We can physically cloister ourselves within walls or on a mountain or in a desert. We can deny the reality around us, acting like everything is really okay. We can absolve ourselves of responsibility to the church and society – while we may interact with others it is on a superficial basis without serious involvement. How many closet Christians have I met in the business world; professing Christians who have worked alongside others all their lives and never shared Jesus? There have been many.

There are also those who go into attack mode and are less interested in providing light than in generating heat – they define themselves not by what they are for but by what they are against (a temptation that I myself have succumbed to more than once). They may be good at tearing down but they have nothing with which to build. Children with tempers tear down when things don’t go their way, we can fix their tantrums; it’s a bit more difficult to deal with adults on a rant.

This brings us back to David’s words, In Yahweh I take refuge; How can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain…” What can the righteous do when the foundations are destroyed? They can look to the true and living God. They can affirm that Yahweh rules over all – despite temporal appearances. They can recall that their citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20) and that while they are physically in this world that they are not of this world (John 17:16) and that in Christ they are more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37). In other words, as Hebrews Chapter 11 reminds us, we are people of faith – therefore let us live as people of faith, confident in God and making a difference in the church and in the world.

When we throw in our lot with the Creator of the universe, when we pick up our cross to follow Jesus, when we identify ourselves with the people of God across the ages, then we can affirm that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a mind that thinks soundly. Then not only do we not need to consider running away, but we realize that we are called to go into all the world and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. The world begins next door, at the next desk, in the next conversation, in the next email, in the next Facebook posting, at the next ballgame, with the person sitting next to you on Sunday morning.

How can we even think of running away when God is our refuge?   

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