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(Click or hover over the above Scripture reference link to read the passage.)
I hope you are enjoying the repeated themes of the psalms as I am. God is our refuge when we are persecuted. God cares about justice. We can cry out to God in our pain.
Psalm 11:3 stands out to me:
When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?
We don’t know the exact time period within Israel’s history that Psalm 11 was written. That time period would influence what was meant by “foundations,” but it’s interesting to ponder what the psalmist had in mind here. The foundations of Israel would have been the temple or tabernacle, as well as the Law of Moses and the Mosaic Covenant that it contained.
It’s interesting that in the next verse the psalmist says the Lord is in his holy temple, on his heavenly throne. The picture the psalmist is giving is of the earthly foundations being destroyed by wicked men… since he uses temple imagery in the next verse, let’s just say he is talking about the earthly temple here (which did get destroyed). All of Israel’s hopes were in the temple at Jerusalem. It was where the presence of God dwelt and was the focal point of their identity as a people. Their temple, their foundation, is being destroyed in verse 3, but in verse 4 we see God in his eternal temple, on his eternal throne, which can never be destroyed.
Our foundations are what we build our life on. What we put our hopes and identity in. What we count on and what everything else is built on top of.
When we are going through suffering and trials, we so often forget that there is an eternal or spiritual reality that is as true, if not more true, than the temporary, physical reality we see in front of us. When our foundations in this physical reality get destroyed, it’s so easy to think it’s the end of the world. It’s so easy to think all hope is lost and to fall deep into despair. Psalm 11 reminds us that God’s job is never at stake. He’s never on the hot seat. God will judge the wicked, period. And God will rescue his children, period. God loves justice. God wins. God is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
When stress, anxiety, depression, despair, struggle, trials, and suffering come your way… when your foundations, the earthly, important, crucial things you’ve built your life on get destroyed… remember it’s not over. Mourn these losses, as Israel mourned hers throughout the Old Testament. But know that God is still on the throne and he is still the judge. His heavenly temple continues to shine, even if his earthly temple gets destroyed.
This can also be a helpful reminder for those who are fed up with the Church. For those who see the Church in a destroyed state and no longer want anything to do with it. Remember that God hasn’t changed. The Church is different than the Old Testament temple because it isn’t a building… you as a Christian actually are the temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Ephesians 2:19-22, 1 Peter 2:5). This reminds us that you can’t really walk away from the Church, because you are the Church. This means you have a responsibility to present the Church to Jesus as his holy bride. But the person I really want to speak to here is the one who is judging Jesus based on the behavior of the Church. Judge Jesus based on Jesus’ behavior, which you can find in the New Testament and in his ongoing act of redemption in our lives.
God still sits on the throne. He is our refuge, even when all of our familiar foundations that we have trusted in are being destroyed by wicked people. He is righteous and loves justice.
Prayer for the day: God give me strength to hang in. Give me strength to not lose hope. Be my hope. My foundations are being destroyed. What I’ve trusted in. What I’ve put my identity and security in. God I feel like I’ve lost my legs. I feel like I can’t stand. Remind me that you are still there. Remind me that you are above all of this. That you are stronger than all of this. That you and your victory over sin and death are more real than all of this. Be my refuge. Thank you that you love justice! Thank you for being my refuge and my hope!
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- Psalm 14 Devotional – Darkness as the door to finding joy in our salvation - January 19, 2021
- Ep. 41: Interview with Wesley Hill on Covenant Friendships as a Biblical Path of Love for Celibate Gay Christians - January 17, 2021
- Psalm 13 Devotional – How Long Oh Lord, How Long? - January 17, 2021