By any fair reckoning, this last year has been abnormal - yet the current covid-19 crisis was eclipsed momentarily, earlier this week, by constitutional chaos in D.C. It is not necessary to apportion blame to simply remark that four precious lives were lost in the riot. These tragic fatalities included one ex-military marcher named Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt (a 35-year old San Diego resident), along with Brian D. Sicknick, a capitol police officer, who also perished in the violence. At least 52 other miscreants were arrested for a variety of offences - chiefly, it seems, for breaking curfew orders. If we throw in, for good measure, a rising debt mountain, worrying unemployment figures, a semi-paralysed education system, mass on-demand abortion, coupled with rampant societal moral filth & pollution, we are probably correct in gauging that foundations are quaking if not breaking.
As I read, sang and prayed Psalm 11 in my morning devotions today, I was reminded of David's action plan recommended by the Spirit. I resolved, by grace, to remember God is fundamentally just: if lawlessness roams the precincts, evildoers stalk the church, or error parades as truth...
The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD's throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of men - Psalm 11:4.
Not only that, but I also firmly resolved, by grace, to remind myself, more often, that Yahweh is morally righteous, and his Lawgiving soul hates lawbreaking...
The LORD tests the righteous, but His souls hates the wicked and the one who loves violence - Psalm 11:5.
I also resolved in my heart, more and more, to seek God's grace to shun all forms of unrighteousness wherever it is found - in my own mind & in media of all forms...
For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face - Psalm 11:7.
I made a holy resolution to help myself to regularly set the visionary warning of verse 6 before my heart - the sight of fire & brimstone is a means to ward off sin...
Let Him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup - Psalm 11:6.
I prayed for all immediate members of my household that they would share these growing convictions towards holy, righteous, resolutions - I also ask that none of us would fall prey to a self-congratulatory, sanctimonious, pharisaic, hypocritical, mote-in-the-eye sawdust spotting, finger-pointing, self-righteousness.
Let me give you just FOUR of the many reasons, brothers and sisters, that I believe should rightly motivate us to embrace such righteous convictions and grace-fuelled resolutions:
1st, the troubled days in which we live can easily depress or pollute & we need to renew our focus on righteousness and God our righteous judge - this will bring help, hope & comfort to God's church.
2nd, it is God's will that we like He are lovers of law-keeping and righteousness both personal, corporate, domestic, societal and national.
3rd, we have been given such Scriptures (as a means of grace) in order that God by His Holy Spirit will produce a crop of Christ-like moral righteousness in saints.
4th, if the wicked (as we, like the rest, were all once numbered among) deserve such "hot-coals" wrath, it was our Saviour, Jesus, at Calvary, who determined to drink and drain the heat and fury of our deserved fiery, brimstone, cup for us - that we might receive peace & bliss.
By grace, through faith, in Christ, we have, in the Gospel, received God's alien imputed righteousness as a justification cloak: so, it is my prayer that you would reflect on God our righteous judge - it is His will & wish that His dearly-beloved & called-to-be-holy flock, with all their hearts, embrace His grace-imparted righteousness. May this keep our hearts and proclaim Christ's peace to precincts that we walk.
But let me add a 5th spur to saintliness: it is given by God in the closing line of this Psalm:
...The upright shall behold His face - Psalm 11:7
This reminds us, further, that we will have to deal with Jesus: it is to the Son to whom God the Father has given all judgment. At very least it implies our just Judge Jesus hears our prayers - he will sort out our case & uphold a righteous cause. Moreover, it indicates, that when we behold Christ's face at last, the experience of change will totally transform & conform the saints now "made perfect in holiness". At length our sight of Christ will instil utter bliss and peace - His welcoming smile will usher us into complete, glorious, fullness of life that Calvary bought for us. Soul and body, Jesus' face will make His own people ecstatically jubilant: every pain of any wrong done will be relieved & long-gone. For unbelievers, however, who embraced law-violating life, the sight of the face of Christ will never, ever, have that sense: instead, God's Lamb's frown will burn with hot distaste at their love of unrighteousness: they will call on rocks to hide them from His face whose grace & goodness they despised & rejected.