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What Can The Righteous Do?

Psalm 11   |   Shaun LePage   |   October 29, 2006

I.       Introduction

A.    Is America broken? Case can be made that the America we know and love—Washington, Henry and Jefferson, preserved by soldiers—no longer exists.

1.     Patrick Henry, member of Continental Congress, Governor of Virginia, once said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” America today love and honor these “Christians” who founded our country? believe or care for “the Gospel?”

2.     Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, declared in that document that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” America today believe that all have a right to “life”?

3.     John Adams, in an address to the military in 1798 said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

B.    Foundations cracked beyond repair or destroyed altogether—yet to be seen. Real question is: What are we—God’s people—to do about it? Another election day—moral condition of America is worse than ever—gain some perspective.

C.    “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” King David was faced with this question thousands of years ago. His response—perfectly relevant for today.

II.    Body—Psalm 11 (A conversation)

A.    The Thesis: “In the Lord I take refuge.” (1a)

B.    The Counsel of Panic (1b-3)

1. “Take refuge” contrasted with “flee.”; 2 Samuel 15:13,14—Contradiction? 2 Samuel 15:23-26—David knew Who made him king. Important distinction: David was running to God. Walking away from a fight—letting God handle Absalom.

2. “Arrow.” Ps37:14; 64:1-5; same imagery—verbal or physical; “Wicked”—pridefully ignores/rejects God (technically no such thing as “unbeliever”). Psalm 10:3-4; “Upright in heart/Righteous”: those who acknowledge, trust and obey God—whether Jew or Gentile. Judges/righteous Boaz and Ruth; Idolatrous Israel/Daniel and friends.

3. “Foundations” only other time Is 19:10; foundations of society (see also BDB, p.1011d). figurative of total breakdown—moral and legal foundations which give society stability; “What can the righteous do?” desperation—“nothing we can do. Give up!”

C.    The Response of Confidence (4-7). David must speak up!

4. “Temple/Throne” God’s sovereignty; in charge of everything. Revelation: Before tribulation, picture of throne. “Eyes behold/Eyelids test” God is not too high to care. Contrast with “darkness” v.2.; anthropomorphism—God doesn’t have eyelids; omniscience and omnipresence.

5. He “tests”. Hebrew word describes purification of gold by fire (Zechariah 13:8-9). God uses difficult times (like today) to purify/refine/make holy. Comfort and ease cannot do this. James 1:2-4. God more interested in holiness than happiness. He is working; everything under control; “One who loves violence”=“wicked”. “Violence” broad term for physical, verbal and ethical wrongdoing—wickedness; “His soul hates”? Contradict John 3:16? No. Hatred of sin—not the sinner. Proverbs 6:16-19. Sinful actions/character. (Malachi 1:3—“I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.” hyperbolic for “rejected.”) Context of Psalm 11, hatred of sin.

6. “Rain snares” (“rain fiery coals” NIV); “will” Imperfect tense—real, future act. Like Sodom & Gomorrah; judgment upon wicked is certain; “portion of their cup supposed to hold (similar to “wages” Rom 6:23)—what is right. Wicked should receive payment they earned.

7. “For” the reason for “fire and brimstone” message. Some will have a problem with it. Why God will judge the wicked? Why a fiery grave? “The Lord is righteous” Our righteousness is imputed, but God is righteous in and of Himself; He decides what is right and what the punishment is. Anything God does is righteous, cannot do anything unrighteous. (Genesis 18 & 19; Abraham: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”); God “loves righteousness” (Literally, “righteous deeds”). Contrast with “hates violence”. Nothing pleases God more than for the people He loves to do the righteous deeds He loves; “behold His face” (“pure in heartshall see God,” Matthew 5:8). Repetition of “behold” (v.2 behold the wicked; v.4 God beholds the wicked; v.7 upright behold God). Repetition builds: Even if the wicked accomplish their violence, what’s the worst they can do? I’ll get to see God in heaven. Promise also for this life: God seems hidden now, but if we trust Him, we’ll see Him work—He has been here all the time.

III.   Closing—Three types of people here:

A.    The Evil-minded Unbeliever. wicked/who loves violence” Natural man.

1.     Present: Defying God. anti-God, loves violence; Gen 6:5 still true; Rom 3:23.

2.     Future: Punishment. Fire, brimstone, burning wind; Not comfortable? “Outdated! Let’s talk about the love of God!” Talk to fireman about the weather? Foolishness! 2 Peter 3:3-10. Noah/flood the earth. Jeremiah/Jerusalem. Jesus will return/judge the God-rejecters.

3.     Response: Receive God. Believe! Receive free gift! Not more comfortable, but save!

B.    The Earthly-minded Believer. Fearful, “What can we do?” Carnal believer—direction.

1.     Present: Dismissing God. Eyes only on the wicked; when difficult times come, forget God is on His throne; dismiss the possibility that He will be any help at all.

2.     Future: Pragmatism. Do whatever we can do / feels best / whether it’s God’s will or not / won’t search the Scriptures for wisdom / we’ll rely on human wisdom—the very definition of foolishness in Proverbs. Definition of “righteous”: trust God. At worst: The person dismissing God is not truly a believer. At best: Carnal believer, practical atheist. Wasting time! Fearful!

3.     Response: Remember God. Trusting Jesus for salvation begins a lifetime of trust!

C.    The Eternity-minded Believer. “Righteous; upright in heart”; Spiritual believer.

1.     Present: Depending on God. Life characterized by total dependence. Runs to God for strength, answers, comfort and refuge from the attacks of the wicked.

2.     Future: Peace. “See God” in difficult times; testing leads to endurance and peace.

3.     Response: Run to God. “The Lord is my refuge”. Run to God. How? Trust Him by obeying Him. “What can the righteous do?” Be righteous! God “loves” that! He shows Himself—reveals His presence to the upright. To those who run to Him!

D.    Are America’s foundations broken? Ultimately, it just doesn’t matter.

1.     If God wants to put pieces back together, America will survive. Fight as though this is His plan. Be righteous; love righteousness. Vote! John Jay, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, one of three men most responsible for Constitution, said, “Providence has given our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Be informed and participate.

2.     If God wants to destroy America with fire and brimstone, that is His prerogative (and best thing). If that is His plan for tomorrow, let us be righteous and trust the righteous Lord today.

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