March 8, 2020
KEEPING YOUR FOOTING WHEN THINGS ARE CRUMBLING AROUND YOU
Just about every day something is happening locally, nationally, or globally that serves as a reminder that we are living in troublesome times. Any rational, reasonable person would conclude that the problems that we are experiencing in this country and around the world are concerning. We’re now wrestling with a global outbreak of the coronavirus, with no vaccine to treat it—that’s concerning. There is a toxic political climate in this country. Our leaders are fighting with each other, while the issues that are plaguing the nation—health care, education, good paying jobs, reducing crime, getting guns off the streets, are not being addressed—this is concerning. On a personal level, we have reason for concern. You can prepare yourself, map out your plans, and in the blink of an eye, things can go in a different direction. It can happen with your heath. It can happen with your marriage and your family. Just the other night, right up the road in Middle Tennessee, people went to bed with no idea that a deadly tornado was going to tear through their communities, and leave the lives of so many changed forever—that’s concerning. Things can happen that will cause you to come unglued, make you feel like the bottom has dropped out—I’m talking about things you can’t control. Yes, we are living in some very troubling times. And in this psalm David is also troubled by what was taking place in his world. We are uncertain of the historical setting of this psalm, but we do know that David was experiencing some terrible ordeal that was very concerning to him, because of the danger it posed for his nation and for the people of God. It appeared that the very foundations of the kingdom were crumbling beneath him. We can identify with what David was feeling, Can’t we? Now the question is posed to him, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” That’s a good question isn’t it? Well, let me ask you, “What can you do when it seems that everything meaningful is crumbling right beneath your feet?” Here are some things we learn from the psalmist:
Be careful of who you turn to for advice. When David’s crisis arose—and let me say this, even though David was God’s anointed, he was not exempt from trouble. You know that being a Christian does not exempt you from difficulties and trials. There will be times when we will have to face adversity. But in David’s case, when disaster struck, his counselors immediately advised him to leave Jerusalem and “flee to your mountain” (v.1). Listen, when adversity strikes, be careful of who you turn to for advice—be careful who you listen to. David’s counselors were not bad people; they were just walking by sight. In adversity, you need spiritual counselors. Peter was walking by sight when he tried to counsel Jesus not to talk about dying on the cross (Mark 3:32). That was bad advice. David’s counselors were afraid because they saw dangerous conditions and crumbling foundations. But listen to the psalmist, “In the Lord I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, ‘flee…” (v.1). David was saying, “I believe the Lord will see me through. How many of you believe that? We have to learn to trust God in all situations.
When things are tough, instead of giving up, try looking up. The psalmist says this in verse 4, “The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven…” The temple represents God’s presence amongst His people. His throne in heaven represents His sovereign power. When was the last time you thought about looking up? Isaiah looked up and saw the Lord on His throne, high and lifted up (Isa. 6:1). Instead of giving up, try looking up. When you look around, you see problems; but when you look up, you see the answer to problems. God will help you keep your footing when things are crumbling around you, because He is in control—“He’s in His holy temple, His throne is in heaven.” He’s sovereign, and His power is not diminished by anything that’s going on in this world or in your life. Instead of giving up, try looking up!
In the end God’s justice will prevail. Finally, when things seem to be out of hand, David offers some things in these remaining verses (vv.4b-7) that should enhance our perspective. First, God observes all that people do (v. 4b). Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place…” And then God “examines both the righteous and the wicked” (vv. 4c-5). Some never consider their accountability to the Lord. They feel as if they can live their lives however they please and not be accountable to anyone. But God sees and God will examine or test every life. And in the end, His justice will prevail (vv.6-7). There will be a day of reckoning. The wicked will not win or get away. The wicked will one day stand before God, and face destruction—coals, fire, brimstone, burning wind is how the psalmist describes their day. But concerning the righteous, God tests will become a refining fire. In other words, God does not shield us from every trial, but He will use our troubles to bring out the best in us. And this is the result: David said, “The righteous shall see His face” (v.7).
It’s time for celebration now!
No matter what’s going on, don’t forget that one day, “The righteous shall see His face!”
When storm clouds hang low, remember the righteous shall see His face!
When your problems seem big, remember the righteous shall see His face!
When your journey seems long, remember the righteous shall see His face!
When you’re condemned and criticized, remember the righteous shall see His face!
Is there anybody here who wants to see His face?”
“If you trust Him, keep the faith, and live right, you will see His face!”
I don’t know about you, but I want to see Jesus!
Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith!
Jesus, who said I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, ye may be also!
Jesus, who died out on Calvary, but arose early Sunday morning!