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What Can the Righteous Do?

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
September 20, 2021 8:00 am

What Can the Righteous Do?

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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September 20, 2021 8:00 am

When everything around us seems to be crumbling and breaking down, we can rest in the fact that our ultimate security does not depend on human institutions. Join us next week for a message from Psalm chapter 11, when Dr. Boice will challenge us to live a counter-cultural life that is aligned with God’s standards, though it may often be at odds with the world all around us.

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When everything around us seems to be crumbling and breaking down we can rest in the fact that our ultimate security does not depend on human institutions. Thanks for joining us today for a message from Dr. James Boyce out of Psalms chapter 11 will challenge us to live a countercultural life aligned with God's standards.

Though it may often be at odds with the world around us and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Let's listen together. Ms. Dr. Boyce presents five keywords he believes summarize this particular soul studying the 11th form which is one of the great Psalms of the solar great.

Of course, but this one particularly slow or at least it seems so to speak, because speak so directly to contemporary issues in the contemporary problem I can summarize what the Psalm is about. Briefly, I think I could do it in just five words I would call it face response the fears counsel the psalmist who presumably his David is in danger and his well-meaning friends in the air around them and their giving them some advice what they say to him is this statement. These are bad times, things are falling apart all around us. What you need to do is get away from your enemies escape while you still have a chance leave in the mountains as their counsel and what David says to them is that is not going to do it rather, he is going to trust God.

Now in the midst of the Psalm as part of the erroneous advice of David's friends. There is a question which is a classic question from the Old Testament and probably you know it or heard it many times first three on the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do 50 years ago now in the great Bible teacher, Arno C.

Gable line who participated in the preparation of the Scofield reference Bible was commenting on this law. He said this is the burning question of our day in the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do. But I was 250 years ago, half a century ago.

It is even more so true in our time. I suppose 100 fold more true today than it was back that much and we do in the age when the laws are no longer upheld when morality is undermined and evil seems to sweep on unchecked. What shall we do it, even Christian people disregard the Bible and go their own way, when even teachers in the church make fun of spiritual things can we do and everything about it seems to be giving way. That's the question the Psalm is asking some like counselors of David advice flight. David says that his responses to take refuge in the Lord and that's what we need to consider now asked the question, is there and. In David's life under which this poem fits two possibilities and their people on both sides see this is important one is when David was fleeing from. Saul was certainly a bad period in his life he was in great danger.

Otherwise, during the rebellion of his son Absalom when he was also in great danger and had to flee Jerusalem. The difficulty with addressing this long to either of those contacts is that in this Psalm David says he's not going to flee to the mountains and in those two situations because a variety of requirements. He did, I don't think that hurts in our interpretation of the Psalm. However, because when it really does is release and so we can interpreted more broadly applied to just one particular situation for which David live, but it applies to any situation in which those were trying to live a righteous life live by the standards of God's revealed word find themselves in a culture where everything seems to be giving way now. Psalm has three parts. First three verses contain the advice of the psalmist friends the next verses. Verses four through six. The second stanza contained David's response and then finally Marianne to have a verse that describes the results follows from that response we need to do is look at this question. The question of verse three and think about it in terms of David's time, such as we know it and also our own time when the foundations are being destroyed, what can righteous do that is meant to be as despairing question when everything is breaking down, there's nothing righteous can knows the way the question is intended think some of the situations I said there's no particular situation.

David's day that we know of that which it might be applied but there certainly were bad times in David's diet, which is, it seemed the foundations were giving way.

I think for example of that particularly dark moment that's told us in first Samuel chapter 22 when David was fleeing from Saul for the very first time in his youth.

After you killed Goliath. He was a favorite of the court. He made good friends with Jonathan, Saul's son, but things got worse and worse as the jealousy of King Saul increase, and finally there was a parting between David and Jonathan in which Jonathan said to David hi regret to say this, but my father is determined to take your life.

The only thing you can do is run away. So we did. David went to the town of Laub. He had arrived in a hurry without any adequate preparation.

He didn't have his army with her nor did he have food to eat. He went to the priest Ahimelech the priest of Bob Ahimelech was a bit surprised to see David there without his division of the Army David and always traveled with division of the Army before, but David explained that he was on urgent business and ask Ahimelech to be good and have something to eat. Ahimelech didn't have anything except the consecrated bread was there at the altar, but Ahimelech gave a Matt that's referred to in the New Testament is the needs of people coming before ritual rights of purification and so on. David took that and he said you have any weapons.

He didn't have any weapons, but he did have Goliath sort which had been in the safekeeping of the priests from Saul, he gave David Goliath, sort, and David went on his way now a short time after that Saul heard that Ahimelech had befriended David and he called Ahimelech to a county accused of treason.

He said you have assisted my enemy, David, and more than that. You even as I understand inquired of the Lord program that is the slot for a special revelation is what David was to do a name like that he had been traitorous all he said David is your servant.

I treated him as I always treat every game on your business. I took care of them. What else would you expect me to do, but Saul wouldn't hear anything about India continued in his accusations so blinded was he by his anger and he said, as the Lord lives you and your family shall by turn to his soldiers. He said kill Ahimelech and the other priests. The soldiers wouldn't do it was wrong of course but in addition to that, you just do not lift up your hand against the Lord's anointed refuse. Finally, there was hanger on of the Corsair's name was Nowak and Saul turned to him and said well you kill him and this man in order to get in good with the King did exactly that. He took the sword and killed Ahimelech the other priests and then he augmented the tragedy by going to Laub wiping out all of the priest families all of their children.

All of their wives, all of their livestock eat absolutely killed everything living in the town. Those living in that day, perhaps at that time David himself might've said the foundations for giving way. What can the righteous do give you an illustration that brings down a little closer to our own time in Columbia and South America foundations were giving way. You know the government of Pres. Deborah Julia Vargas is under attack by the nation's drug cartel. The government has been trying to enforce its laws. Drug barons are fighting back may have at least long series of terrorist attacks in which bombs exploded in the country's newspapers and the banks and the courts in which they begun to assassinate important people, including one of the police chiefs of mandolin, several judges and then as you well know, the Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Collado when the government began to extradite those who were engaged hidden the drug traffic to the United States to stamp charges where their cohorts would not be able to release them. The drug cartel threatened to kill 10 judges for every one of its people that were extradited sometime ago. Justice Minister Monica degree came to Washington for help rumors that she was going to resign because of the dangers of mounting dangers of her job.

She denied it at the time. She said the law is under siege in Columbia. We must protect it in every way we can. But two weeks later, she did reside because of the mounting danger Columbia today is a near anarchy and I am sure righteous and that land might well be saying when the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do this not just in South America or in other third world countries that that kind of a threat looms we see it in our own country as well.

The drugs that are in Columbia and South and Central America are for the American market there very few countries.

Very few cities our own country that are not affected by it in major US cities including our own that drugs are sold openly on the street corners. People are killed because of the drug traffic and not only those who are engaged in the traffic. Sometimes it's innocent's Philadelphia not long ago, six-year-old Ralph Brooks was paralyzed by a stray bullet was fired and the feud between two drug dealers in the area of 20th and Tasker streets of New York City Maria Hernandez 34-year-old mother was shot through the window of her home because she had been mounting a campaign in her neighborhood to resist the encroachment of the drug trafficking to her block two weeks before that her husband had been stamped because he had stood up against a dealer we have that here and we have crime as well. Crime is mounting in our city is normal allowed to go out on the streets and see cars with a sign in their window cars and have to be parked on the streets regularly that say things like, no dollars. No radio, no valuables, no nothing, because people are breaking into the cars regularly. It's hard to walk down a block Street on a block of our city where you don't see broken window glass on the street, which is a silent testimony to the fact that the car was broken into their sometime before the laws are not being enforced when you call the police state, sometimes but not always, because the chance even of apprehending someone who does something like that, let alone convicting them or sending them to jail is so slim foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do you see it in the church as well church it standards a vascular righteousness. It should stand in the word of God should speak faithfully of God's revelation, but the church is not doing that to sold out entertainment and the liberal church to liberalism where the word is not believed in the wisdom such as it is men and women, with all its relativism comes in to take the place of the truth. Believers want to live by the Scripture might well repeat the question of the song when the foundations are being destroyed. What can the righteous do. By limiting the righteous can do is go on being righteous and in addition to that they can stand against the evil God doesn't call us to be successful, but he does call us to stand and of course that is what David Dotson one thing we are not to do is to flee to the mountains now let's look at what David actually does here I'm asked this question.

What can the righteous do is question of the Saul answer that question by another question than the question I asked how is this where should the righteous look when you're living in such times and what direction should you look.

To whom should you look the answer to that is perfectly obvious righteous should look to God Charles Wesley with eroding such times other refuge have I gone hangs my weary soul on the leave leave me and not alone. Still, support and comfort me. All my trust on the estate all my help from the I bring cover my defenseless head with the shadow of my wing is what David does her saying to him, flee to the mountains, but he says the Lord is in his holy temple.

Lord is on his heavenly throne to remember when we were studying soulmate. I pointed out when we were studying Saul make it there, you have this very fascinating description of man as being in a Middle Pl. in God's created order that Psalm begins by talking of the Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth ends by talking of the Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth, and in between is a description of man stopped about God and the angels and then talks about man and then after that, he goes on to talk about the beast. The animals says that Manuel made him a little lower than the angels, but you've crowned him with glory and honor. The word actually is Elohim a little lower than the dogs are a little lower than God.

My point after say that that is very significant because by describing man is a little lower than the heavenly beings. It's a way of saying it is our privilege in this mediating position in the universe to look up to the heavenly beings of the angels be on the angels to God and become increasingly like God but we won't have God. If we cut ourselves off from God.

The only place we have a look is down to the animals and we become like that. That's what's wrong with our culture. That's why it's obese like that is why the foundations are being destroyed the foundations have to be gone and that you won't have God well what you have. Ultimately, anarchy people behaving even worse than the beasts you see what the righteous do is look to God righteous now that they're made in the image of God. They know that God has reached out to save them from their sins. And so instead of looking down the animals they look to God and they fix their hopes on him and that is exactly what we find David doing in the Saul what can the righteous do look to God.

What does David see what he looks to God. Well, he described it in a number of different terms. First of all, he says Lord is in his holy temple. We tend when we read that were temple to think of the temple that Solomon built, or perhaps of that later temple that was built by King Herod that was standing there in the time of Jesus Christ, we say well Lord is located in the building is holy temple.

What David is talking about one thing the devil wasn't building David's day was no temple in David's day. I know very well that that were temple sometimes is used later to look back, to describe the wilderness tabernacle which did exist in David's day, but it was used to describe the tabernacle David's day because those living at a later time a new the temple saw the tabernacle. As a forerunner of the later temple. The architecture of the tabernacle was the architecture of the temples of the word is sometimes use and that way that's not what David is talking about here is not thinking of any earthly tabernacle is not thinking of any earthly temple.

He's thinking of God's temple in heaven, his holy temple when he says the Lord is in his holy temple lease, reminding himself of the holiness of Almighty God say, the tabernacle had the holy of holies within it very very holy place that's where God was understood symbolically to dwell. David looks beyond that to the real holy of holies in heaven, and he reminds himself that the judge of all the earth will do right.

God is a just jot. She is a holy jock.

She is not in different what is happening on earth, and secondly he says the Lord is on his heavenly throne only in his holy temple than on his holy throne.

A frozen place for which King renders judgment or David is saying here, reminding himself strongly as not only is God holy God.

God, who knows the difference between right and wrong was not indifferent to the sins of evil man but he is also God is going to render judgment to use it just, holy, sovereign King may be often is times of history go by and we don't see evidences of God's judgment that execution of justice seems delayed but it's not going to be delayed forever. And sometimes we even see glimpses of it and the things that happen day by day. David said let's not forget that. Let's not forget the nature of our God.

I see these two phrases describe the direction that is lucky he's not looking down is looking up into the holy temple is looking to God, upon his heavenly throne and solemnly sees God.

That way, and reminds himself of the character of the God that is worshiping. What does he remind himself that God does rest of this section talks about it. Number one he is observing sons of man. His eyes examined them. God is not been his holy temple, sitting on his heavenly throne with his eyes closed God's eyes are never close to God is looking by his spirit of what goes on throughout the universe in every corner. There he sees the thoughts and intents of our heart enough to describe them as being only evil all the time. It's a way of saying is there every incident to know every single thing and thought you and I do have a wood says that's our God is our God knows at all. God's I've seized observing the deeds of many may not be acting immediately but he is observing. He knows what's going on so I when I go through the difficulties of life and the foundation seem to be giving way never to find myself saying all my only God know God does know what's going on and he knows a far better than we do and he says secondly one examines the righteous on that word behind in Hebrew is set where they can be translated in two ways. It can be translated test. He tests the righteous, or it can be translated, examined, in the sense of the proof how it does take in different ways. You'll find some of your translations will do that.

It occurs actually into versus you have an inverse for his eyes examined them some of our versions. They test them and you find in verse five the Lord examines the righteous and some of her versions. A test of mouth Charles Haddon Spurgeon took the word in that sense of testing and they said well he he's he's testing them by that kind of situation. The early versions of the soul describe here, there, living in times which the foundations are giving way the Lord is using this to test his people to see if they are strong to develop their faith to purge their drops all that of course is a perfectly valid meeting other people. Great Bible student Della choose one who says that no it really means examines them in the sense of approving them, test them in this way, he examines their heart observing the sons of man which is what this verse immediately preceding says it when he looks at the righteous. He says these persons are righteous and so he sets his approval on that. Which of the two were you to choose. I think the second is that obvious one.

In the context of the work can mean put through trials in order that by trials. Our faith might be strengthened. That's true enough idea that somebody saying here. He says God is a God of judgment and is looking down on earth upon the hearts of man and he knows is doing well and he knows is not doing well and he knows the righteous.

Even though thereby set by all the problems of the times in which they live, and he approves them. He sets his seal of approval on the why do I say that because the very next verse develops the other half of the contrast begins to talk about the wicked says on the wicked he will reign fiery coals burning sulfur. I guess I was encouraging David to when he said burning sulfur singing back to Sodom and Gomorrah. That's the way they were destroyed and is reminding himself by that term, that God has judged the wicked in the past he's given us those judgment so that we might not think that God is indifferent to evil Peter does the same thing in his first letter in reference to the flood. He says are willfully ignorant of the fact that God is a God of justice because it only open their eyes and read history, they would know that there was a time in the past when God destroyed the race by a great flood. Only Noah and his immediate family were saved. God is not indifferent to evil and they was doing the same thing here is reminding himself that was a time when he destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin and same God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin in the race at the time of Noah by the flood. God is going to execute a final judgment upon all people. Those who have destroyed the foundations.

Those who, as he says in the opening verses of the song I've been hiding in the shadows to shoot at the upright apartment they themselves are going to be shot at by the Almighty God and destroy one of the righteous. They are going to be approved for the Lord is righteous and he loves justice see what happens when David looks up perspective changes he says to himself well yes foundations are being shaken but after all I'm not spending because I stand on human foundations.

I don't get my security because the laws for good laws are because the government is so secure. Nothing human is secure.

I got my strength because I depend on the God alone is stable and who will execute a perfect judgment in the end see that kind of faith that kind of trusting them through anything. One other thing I said you see that David looks up, that's one thing, the righteous do another thing he does.

Not only does he look up. He looks ahead because he says what's going to be the end of it all, but so far as the wicked are concerned that a judge that is already spoken about but what's he going to do, so far as righteous are concerned very last line of the song tells us last line says upright man will see his face what is that that is the beatific vision sight of God face-to-face. That was the great aspiration of the Old Testament St. you know I was true of Moses. Moses, who was with God in the mountain men who experience such a transference of the glory of God. And when he came down from the mountain's face was shining and it was so bright that the people who confronted them couldn't bear to look upon it. They had them wear a veil to cover space until in time. The glory faded away. Nevertheless, he was in a cloud on the mountain and Moses when he was face-to-face with God said to him, God, what I really want to do is see your face. You know how God answered him, he said I'm going to join the cleft of the rock cover you with my hand in the past by see my back but you never see my face because no man can see my face and live yet you see the aspiration of the righteous is to do just that. To see the face of God. And David says you see life, the upright will indeed see God. One of the commentators don't like that because whenever you begin to talk about an afterlife, and so on. They say that's putting too much of the Old Testament.

The Old Testament saints didn't have that kind of faith they didn't have that well-developed understanding of the afterlife is some truth to it. The resurrection of our Lord not occurred in all of the things that we normally used to talk about the afterlife are absent from their experience. But nevertheless they looked ahead when we come to the New Testament and begin to think about this. Terms of the New Testament revelation, we find exactly the same thing. You know what John says in his first letter is the third chapter is talking about the return of the Lord and says when he comes again. We will be like him, for we shall see him as he is. The day is coming and going to see him face-to-face. When we see him face-to-face were to be like him and then he draws an important conclusion, he says. Therefore everyone who has this hope in him that is to see Jesus to see God face-to-face everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure. Which of the righteous to go on being righteous and look for that day were going to see him face-to-face is people like that to change the world got so blessed. Sometimes the righteous prosper and you have something like revival and revolution all in the best sense because even if that doesn't, that's not God's will for our age.

Righteous are still to live by faith. Father, we thank you for the song. We thank you for the practical teaching that it has for us. Each of the Psalms is so practical because they deal with life situations that all of us confront in this one branch, especially because it describes the decay of civilization in our day and there were not to look at that and behold, blessed with so many around the seam today were to look up or do you help us to do that give us that upward gaze which does not make us unfit for light but actually fit to stand against the terrors of the time, and so strengthen us, that it might be Satan we work with Jesus.

One day will see them face-to-face.

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