What can the righteous do when the foundations are destroyed?

The question posed in Psalm 11:3 addresses a human need. The wickedness around David, the writer of this Psalm, threatened to undermine the foundations of the nation of Israel, God's people. In our day, it seems that the foundations of our country are being threatened as well. The foundations of the church are undermined when many Protestant denominations deny the authority of Scripture, the sanctity of marriage, and the sacred nature of human sexuality as God defines it. Personally, at times it seems that the foundations of one's life are being destroyed by loss of health, financial security, or valued relationships.

In such uncertain times, the righteous take refuge in the Lord! David unpacks 4 activities that the righteous practice in order to take refuge in the Lord.

The Righteous Locate the Lord (Psalm 11:4a).

The Lord is the singular place of refuge, and the righteous want to be wherever He is. The Old Testament saint knew where to find the Lord. Even in captivity, they knew Jehovah and His glory would be in His temple. The Israelites loved Jerusalem because it was where the presence of the Lord was found!

New Testament saints know where to find the Lord as well. Individually, we locate and identify ourselves in Christ positionally (Ephesians 1:1-3). Practically, we work hard not to grieve the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (Ephesians 4:30). Corporately, we know that the Church is the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).

The Church is the location for the ministry of the gifts of the Spirit for the edification and care of believers (1 Corinthians 12:24b-26). The Church is the household of God (1 Timothy 3:15). It provides the context for the fulfillment of all the imperatives in the New Testament. As we assemble together, we practice the "one another"s (Hebrews 10:22-25).

The Righteous Confess the Lord's Sovereignty (Psalm 11:4b).

The Lord’s throne carries the idea of the sovereignty of the Lord over all events. The specific foundation-destroying events that have occurred in our world or in your life are not outside of the Lord’s control! Confessing the Lord’s sovereignty in all circumstances reflects reality. Clinically, people who don’t live in light of reality are in denial. Don’t be in spiritual denial!

God’s sovereignty is the natural consequence of His omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, and timelessness! Daniel 4:34-35 says that the powers in heaven and peoples on earth have nothing to contribute to producing, maintaining, or propagating God’s dominion and kingdom. This is done by God alone. Our role is to worship.

God’s sovereignty means that He can do anything. He can take action and intervene in any situation. However, He may choose to act indirectly or to allow certain things for reasons of His own. Everything that happens is, at the very least, the result of God’s permissive will.
(For a helpful illustration, see the Got Questions website.)

Confessing the Lord’s sovereignty in all circumstances not only reflects reality, but it also expresses a believing response rather than a pagan one. Obedient men and women of faith make it their habit to confess God’s sovereignty especially at difficult times.

The Righteous Consider the Lord's Interests (Psalm 11:4c-5).

The faithful understand and consider that when the foundations of their life are being moved and seemingly destroyed, it is a time to take a long, lingering look at the Lord. The Lord allows trials, and He seeks to prove and strengthen our faith in our trials. His intention is not to see us fail, but to grow in Christ-likeness and faith (Romans 5, James 1, Romans 8:28). God did this very evidently in Acts 8:1, 4. It was not until the Holy Spirit allowed the foundations to be overturned in the life of the early church that the gospel made it to the Gentiles!

The Righteous Find Confidence in the Lord's Character (Psalm 11:5b-7).

Our confidence is less in what the Lord will do than who He is. God's timing is His business. Although the faithful may find the ways of the Lord are incomprehensible, they remain confident in His revealed character. They know that in whatever the Lord is doing, He can never do anything inconsistent with His revealed character.

The Psalmist is confident of four things. First, the soul of God hates wickedness. He is righteous, and He loves righteousness. The righteous are confident that the Lord’s character will be vindicated. According to the terms of the Mosaic Covenant, He vindicated His name by removing the influence of the wicked. In the Church, the Lord vindicates His name amazingly. Not only does He remove the influence of the wicked, but He adds their influence to the voice of the redeemed to praise and worship His name! Finally, the upright are confident that they will be rewarded with fellowship with God Himself. We will be admitted into God’s very presence.

Application Points

  • Like the saints in the Old Testament, the saints under the New Testament understand that when we locate the Lord appropriately, we will find Him in holiness. To find the Lord as He is holy demands the disposition of a learner. We need to learn and change. He is ready to direct us and indicates the things that we, an unholy people, need to learn. Are you a learner?

  • Truly born-again people have the settled disposition that they need help. They daily confess the truth of John 15:5 that they can do nothing without Christ. They locate the help of Christ in the context of a good Bible-preaching local church. They progressively grow out of merely seeking confirmation while feigning looking for help. Do you entrust yourself to the help of the Word and godly people in a local church?

  • Confession is a lost art today. Instead of telling God all the things you want, try a new kind of prayer: Tell God how wonderful He is, and how everything He has told us to do is right!

  • Are the foundations of your existence being destroyed? Are they shifting seismically? The faith we place in the success of nations, our own good health, or financial security will be undermined. The righteous understand that when these foundations shift, they do so with a purpose and are from the hand of a loving heavenly Father. The righteous locate the Lord, confess His sovereignty, consider His interests, and find confidence in His character. This is the response that God intends us to have! What is your response when the foundations of your life are undermined?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Psalm 103:19 – God's sovereignty.
  • Job 40:1-5, Daniel 4:34-35, Isaiah 64:7-8, Psalm 139, Philippians 1:6, 2:12-13 – The righteous confess God's sovereignty in difficult times.