January 11, 2018: Behold His FaceJanuary 11, 2018:
by Josh Moody
Taking refuge in God, verse 1, is that which the righteous do, verse 7. The upright shall behold his face.
But in the meantime, there is much that troubles David. He will not give in to pious platitudes and pretend that the situation he is facing is simple. “How can you say to my soul ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain.’” If you’ve ever been in a crisis and someone has unthinkingly said, “God’s got it under control,” you will know how a simplistic answer can feel like a religious cliché. Of course you know, at some level, that God has got it under control. But it doesn’t feel like he has it under control. You need more than an injection of Christianese; you need truth in all its reality.
Part of that comes from looking that reality full in the face. “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” To many people today, it seems as if ideological and moral foundations are being eroded from the societies in which we live. Countries that have been incubators for Christian faith and practice are becoming toxic towards orthodox spirituality. What to do? The answer is far from simple.
But that does not mean that there is not an answer! What shall the righteous do? It is God who will do it! “The Lord is in his holy temple.” He will do it. “The Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.” Take refuge in God. Trust in God. Act righteously for God. Receive God’s help.
None of that means there is nothing practical for us to do. But when we act, we now take initiative rather than simply react. We are not frightened of a world in which the foundations seem to be eroding. We are confident in the eternal victory of the Son of God! We are loving. We do not compromise with the world around us (“if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”); we go in grace and mercy to the world around us. We become missionaries and missional to the societies in which we live.
Perhaps you feel that the world around you has become so bad that there is nothing you can do about it. Perhaps you despair of any simplistic solution. Perhaps you think the time has come to be honest about the reality and withdraw from the society about you. Take a moment this morning to do what David did. Go to the control center of the universe, observe the one who pulls all the levers, who turns the world as he wants, this way or that. See the Lord in his holy temple. Things may not work out how we would wish they would. But God knows better. We can ask God for help. We can take refuge in God through prayer. We know that justice will prevail against evil and wickedness. And we know that the upright shall behold his face now, as through a glass darkly—and one day in the world to come, face to face, knowing fully as we are fully known!