What Shall The Righteous Do?
By: Jim O'Brien
In the Psalms, we find one of the most soul-searching questions ever asked. It is a question that has resounded through the ages, reflecting the dilemma that all righteous men have faced in every age of man. The Psalmist wrote during a time when the world was crumbling around him, the leaders were corrupt, crime was rampant, sexual immorality saturated the nation, schools were cesspools of evil influence and murder stalked the nation. The writer was at his wits end. He was only one small pebble in a sea of evil men and he was powerless to change the world. If this wasn’t bad enough the religious leaders were often as bad as the politicians. He threw up his hands in despair and cried out to God, "If the foundations are destroyed, what shall the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3 NKJV).
In response to this profound question, God answers, "Therefore let all the faithful pray to you LORD while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them." (Psalm 32:6) The answer reveals the most fundamental truth in the Bible: God is the power that controls the universe. Even though we are in the middle of a storm that threatens to destroy our ship, God promises to protect us from the rising waters.
When King David feared for his life, he appealed to God to save him. He wrote, "Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (Psalm 61:1-2). Even the king was overwhelmed. It is through this experience that David shows us the door to obtain protection. In verse 5 he writes, "You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name." This is the entry way to the escape room when the earth itself seems to have collapsed beneath us. Fear God and He will protect you.
Isaiah repeats this theme in chapter 55. "Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near" (Isaiah 55:6).
There are several prophecies that tell us of a time when it will not be easy to find God. I used to wonder what that meant until witnessing the attack on churches in recent years. Ministers in California decried (publicly denounced) the governor for closing down churches while strip bars were allowed to stay open. Popular media has labeled the Bible as hate speech. Moral messages are censored from the internet even while the Super Bowl entertains our children by idolizing Satan and glamorizing pornography. The warning has been sounded. It is apparent that a time is coming when churches may not be allowed to gather to worship God. Isaiah lived through such a time. Even the Prophet Amos warned us, "The days are coming," declares the Sovereign Lord, "when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it (Amos 8:11-12 NIV).
Can you imagine driving to church to worship God and finding a police officer at the door telling you to go home? That thought seemed impossible to me until I saw what the State of New York did to Orthodox Jews during the Covid epidemic. The lesson for us is clear. Act while the opportunity presents itself and there is an avenue of escape.
This warning is not unique to Christians. We expect the media and local officials to provide warnings of weather emergencies. We aren’t depressed by hearing a siren warning of an approaching tornado. In fact, we condemn agencies for neglecting the citizens if they don’t warn us. God hasn’t neglected His people, rather He has provided prophets to warn us.
We are not the first people to be born in a nation blessed by God and filled with good gifts. We will not be the first to be overcome by the evil surrounding us.
Will the God who blessed us with such gifts as He has given this nation not also require that we be a light of justice to the rest of the world? The Founding Fathers were greatly influenced by words from the Old Testament; by Gideon the Prophet and by Moses. In fact, the men who formed the moral backbone for America viewed the United States as the New Israel, even placing an engraving of Moses holding the tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments over the rear entrance to the Supreme Court building.
Let us hold with confidence that calling on the God of the Bible while He may be found will be a source of refuge for His people through the tumultuous times ahead.
Until next time,
March 3, 2023
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