What To Do When the Foundations are Being Destroyed
DIANE SINGER — “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8). Over the years, I have used a number of devotionals for my morning quiet time, devotionals written by giants of the faith like Charles Spurgeon, Mrs. Charles Cowman, Billy Graham and Henry Blackaby. The devotional which I keep returning to again and again, however, is Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest. For more than 25 years, I have read and re-read (in both the classic and updated versions) the words of this dear saint — words faithfully recorded by his wife, Biddy, and published after his death.
On the one hand, Chambers’ words wound me. I am frequently reminded of my lack of “abandonment” to the Lord and all the ways in which I sabotage my own spiritual walk through self-centeredness and short-sightedness. On the other hand, his words create in me a longing to experience what he did: a spiritual life deeper and richer than anything I have known thus far.
It’s fitting, therefore, that as I wrap up this series on Righteous Living in a Doomed Nation, I turn to Chambers to help me shape my final thoughts on Psalm 11:3 — fitting and humbling because Chambers states in just a few words what I’ve spent more than 10,000 trying to say. The June 16thentry cuts to the heart: “God saves a man and endues him with the Holy Spirit, and then says in effect — ‘Now work it out, be loyal to Me, whilst the nature of things round about you would make you disloyal.’ ” Guided by this admonition, we’ll take one last look at our seven answers to David’s question, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
#1 Remember Esther
Be loyal to Christ as we confront those whose beliefs and policies are antithetical to God’s Word. God has placed us in this time and place to be His voice to lost and dying people — not for our ease, comfort, promotion, popularity or safety. Loyalty to our Savior means we must do as He did: speak the Truth in love in order to set them free from sin and death. God is calling each of us to be an Esther, a Wilberforce, and a Bonhoeffer for such a time as this — to speak His Truth boldly and without apology, and to be willing to pay the consequences. He is asking us to be living sacrifices who share Paul’s attitude: “… whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 12:1; Romans 14:8)
#2 Be Trusting, not Fearful
Be loyal to Christ when our fears about the future threaten to overwhelm us. In this case, loyalty to our Lord is measured by the degree to which we trust Him. God repeatedly commands us to be strong and courageous; and trusting God is the root of those virtues. So we must choose to trust. We trust in the God who loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us. We trust that all His promises — which are “yes” in Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20) — will come to pass just as He has said, including His promise never to leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Because nothing and no one can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39) or de-rail our eternal destiny (John 14:1-4), we can conquer our earthly fears and trust in Him (Psalm 56:3).
#3 Fight the Good Fight
Be loyal to Christ as the spiritual battle for the soul of America intensifies and may even seem lost. Loyalty means we don’t quit, don’t hide, and don’t let sin and evil go unchallenged (whether it’s our personal sins or our collective national sins). It means we take up our cross, follow Him, and employ three potent spiritual weapons with which He has equipped us to advance His kingdom: the power of the Holy Spirit to convict people of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11); the power of God’s Word, which never returns empty (Isaiah 55:11); and the power of prayer. We pray for our enemies even as they are taunting and persecuting us (Psalm 42:10; Matthew 5:44); we pray for open doors to proclaim the gospel (Colossians 4:3); and we pray for God to humble the American people so He can heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14). Every great revival in our nation’s history has come about because faithful prayer warriors were convinced that God hears and answers prayers. Thus, the battle for America begins on our knees.
#4 Lament like Jesus
Be loyal to Christ when sorrow over our nation’s decline tempts us to grow discouraged, angry, depressed or demoralized. It’s legitimate to grieve over the loss of our Judeo-Christion foundation and the resultant discord, division and brokenness; but we do not grieve as those who have no hope. While our nation is suffering the consequences of its sins, it’s possible that the pain we are feeling may bring about a godly sorrow leading to repentance. Repentance can bring revival for individuals; revival can bring renewal in our churches; and renewal can bring another Great Awakening to our shores.
When Jesus cried over Jerusalem, He knew for certain that His nation would be destroyed by the Romans within a generation; but we have not been given such clarity about America’s future. What we do know is that, for now, we still have a nation to pray for, a gospel to share, a watchman’s duty to warn, and works of love and compassion to carry out. We must not allow our sorrow over what has been lost to override the salt-and-light mission Christ entrusted us with. We should not abandon the dream behind the psalmist’s prayer: “Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!” (Psalm 80:3)
#5 Love and Bear Reproach
Be loyal to Christ when people revile us for loving like Jesus — a “tough love” backed by His holiness that calls us to turn away from our sin, not embrace it. Just as Jesus’ message of repentance and salvation was misunderstood and rejected in His day, we can expect it to be misunderstood and rejected in our own. When the jeers and threats come, we shouldn’t be surprised since Jesus warned us it would be this way (John 15:18). However, just as Christ was not deterred in His mission to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) by those who slandered and maligned Him, we cannot allow antagonism, angry slurs or even persecution to deter us from ours. In fact, we should consider it an honor to suffer for doing what is right (1 Peter 3:14-15), and even rejoice over how suffering for His sake impacts our spiritual growth (Romans 5:3-5).
#6 Live by Faith
Be loyal to Christ in a secular-minded world which mocks us for living out our Christian faith. According to the wisdom of this age, Christians are superstitious fools for thinking that Jesus Christ is the God-Man who died for our sins, came to life again, and offers eternal life to all who will believe in Him. We’re intolerant bigots because we preach that Christ is the only way to God. We’re backward rubes for thinking that a 2000+ year old book has any wisdom worth following today. We’re dangerous reactionaries because our ultimate loyalty is to a God we cannot see rather than to a human leader who, like all good demagogues, promises to solve all our problems while demanding unquestioning allegiance.
When we hear such comments, we need to remember that Paul called such “wisdom” foolishness in the sight of God (1 Corinthians 1:20-27). Therefore, being loyal to Christ means ignoring their insults, resisting the urge to defend ourselves, and pressing on to our high calling in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). It’s remembering that God has mapped out a path for us that unbelievers will never understand until they too have experienced His resurrection power. He moves us from saving faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), to living faith (Hebrews 6:1), to dying faith (Psalm 116:15). The world may call us crazy, but we know better. We are experiencing God’s righteousness, peace, and joy — the fruits of a faith-filled life.
#7 Wait upon the Lord
Be loyal to Christ as we wait for the Lord to reveal His plans for America. We love our country. It has been a place of great blessing in the past, and we would like that blessing to continue for our children and grandchildren. However, we must be realistic. History teaches us that all nations eventually fall. Whether that will happen to America during our lifetime — or many lifetimes hence — we cannot know, we can only wait and see.
This is why when we pray for America, we should be mindful of the fact that our ultimate loyalty is not to this country, but to a Person whose plan for history is far beyond our ken. Should this nation be destroyed, our faith in Him will not falter. His Church and His kingdom will continue to expand until God brings the whole world to its knees before His Son (Philippians 2:9-11). In the meantime, we should wait and pray, trust and love, speak up and stand up. We should do our utmost to honor God with our lives and to be a blessing to our family, friends, and fellow countryman. Our loyalty to Jesus requires no less.
While these seven answers to Psalm 11:3 are the ones God impressed upon me over the past few months, Scripture reveals others just as integral to the task of remaining faithful when everything in our culture pressures us to abandon our faith and embrace its ungodly values. What other principles would you add to this list? Of the seven we have covered in this series, where are you the strongest and where do you need to improve?
Adapted from: Righteous Living in a Doomed Nation, Part 9, by Diane Singer, Colsoncenter.org, June 29, 2015 — Reprinted with permission. The entire series, entitled Righteous Living in a Doomed Nation, is written as a response to the question in Psalm 11:3 “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”