This week we begin some of our readings and studies in the letter of James. It is an immensely practical letter, dealing with real issues that can face us in the world today. So we have to reflect on how our faith in Jesus, and our determination to follow Him, is worked out in the rough and tumble of 21st Century life.
Where and how does the rubber of faith hit the road of life today?
What can the righteous do?”
Some years ago, when I lived in another part of Steyning, a crack suddenly appeared in the kitchen wall. It was no mean crack – we could see daylight through it. The kitchen, a single storey extension, was moving away from the house, and the roof had begun to separate from the main structure. To say we were concerned was a minor understatement; was it the house or the extension that was on the move? Clearly something, somewhere was wrong with the foundations, and those foundations were pretty important for us. Foundations are always important.
Now this week in the news I read stories of how policing is becoming much more difficult in some inner city areas – largely because the foundation values of society are crumbling. Ever since the 1960s, Western societies have been abandoning their Christian foundations. In this psalm, David expresses similar feelings about his kingdom. Possibly, it was written during the early days of Absalom’s conspiracy. The foundations of a God-fearing culture were being destroyed. David’s plaintiff cry ‘The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do? ‘ might well find an echo in the Christian’s heart right now.
These first three verses of the psalm seem to breathe an air of despair. It looks as if David was being advised to turn and run away. ‘You may trust God’ people say, ‘but what practical use is that. Get real – you haven’t a chance of altering circumstances around you.’
The world around us is changing, and very fast too. The foundations of Family Life, Church Life, and society itself, are crumbling. What can we do – if anything – as we live in the shadow of such changes.
It is all too easy to fall into despair.
So, come on David, where do we go from here?
But that isn’t the end of the Psalm!