What Can We Do If the Foundations of Society Collapse?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?”

Psalm 11:3

Nobody has prayed in more presidential inaugurations than Billy Graham. (Note: If you’re interested in these prayers, you might visit a series I did on my website: The Inaugural Prayers of Billy Graham.) In his inaugural prayer for Richard Nixon in 1969, and then again in his prayer for George H. W. Bush in 1989, Graham quoted Psalm 11:3 in the King James version: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” As we see so much of what our society was built upon crumbling around us, we might wonder if there is any hope left?

David faced a similar challenge thousands of years ago, as the wicked around him were gaining strength. It was tempting for godly people to flee from the problems, to find a safe place to hide from social chaos. Yet David refused this option. “What can the righteous do?” he asked and then pointed to the Lord. The foundations may be collapsing, “But the LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD still rules from heaven” (v. 4). In time, the one who examines every person will punish the wicked and reward those who seek justice (vv. 5-7). So the godly should not flee when society is falling apart. Rather, they should remain, trusting God in all things, standing up for his justice.

We too can be tempted to flee from our society as it becomes less and less shaped by God’s designs. How much easier it would be to become hermits, hiding among our fellow Christians until Jesus returns! But our calling is to be salt and light in this world, to live justly even when the foundations seem to be crumbling. In this way, we honor the Lord even as we extend his kingdom into our part of this world.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you ever feel like the foundations of our society are collapsing? When? Why? Are you tempted to flee from the fallen world? What gives you strength to stand for God and God’s way in an increasingly hostile world?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, it does seem like the foundations of our society are collapsing under us. Increasingly, you are mocked in the public square, while your ways are rejected in society and law. We might wonder, with David, “What can the righteous do?”

Most of all, we can trust you, acknowledging you as Lord of heaven and earth. We will not find the strength to stand for justice apart from your help. So give us perseverance to seek your justice and truth, no matter what happens around us. Help us to live for you each day. Though the foundations may be crumbling around us, still we are free to serve you. For this we need your help, each and every day. Amen.