America: If The Foundations be Destroyed

Title: America: If The Foundations be Destroyed

Bible Book: Psalms 11 : 1-7

Author: J. Gerald Harris

Subject: America; Independence Day



On September 11, 2001 the terrorists who flew commercial planes into the World Trade Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington shook the very foundations of America’s financial system and military headquarters. America’s security was also shaken, because most United States citizens never believed anything like that could happen on American soil. As a result of this fateful day almost 3,000 people perished.

Foundations are vitally important. Jesus illustrated this in the Sermon on the Mount. He told a parable about one man who built his house upon the sand. That house was destroyed because it had a faulty foundation. Another man built his house upon a rock. The house built upon the rock endured the raging storms and howling winds because it had a firm foundation.

But let us look at our text. Palm 11 is a Psalm of David. This Psalm was written when David was married to Saul’s daughter Michal; and when Saul’s son, Jonathan, was David’s steadfast friend. It was also that time when the nation was cheering louder for David than it did for Saul. All these things increased Saul’s suspicions and spite. More than once he threw a javelin at David in a fit of demonic hate.

It was during this dangerous, nerve-racking period in his life that David wrote Psalm 11. It is an appropriate psalm for those who are facing some great crisis in life and who may be tempted simply to run away and hide.

The first thing we see is:

I. The Faith We Must Renew

Notice what David says in the first verse of our text. He says, “In the Lord I put my trust” (v.1a).

Do you know what America has done? We have put our trust in Wall Street. We should have known better. Just ask the people who have invested in Enron and Chrysler and Bank of America.

Years ago Larry Burkett wrote a book about the coming economic earthquake. What he predicted over a decade ago we are experiencing today. The financial seismograph is moving frantically. Wall Street is in a panic; and it is probably going to get worse before it gets worse. The federal government’s financial recklessness has plunged the next two generations into an abysmal debt.

Don’t ever put your faith in the material things of this world. John W. Rockefeller said, “I have made millions, but they have brought me no happiness.”

W. H. Vanderbilt said, “I have made millions, but they have brought me no happiness.”

Henry Ford stated, “I was happier when doing a mechanic’s job.” Andrew Carnegie remarked, “Millionaires seldom smile.”

Listen: Money will by a bed but not sleep; books but not brains; food but not appetite; finery but not beauty; a house but not a home; medicine but not health; luxuries but not culture; amusements but not happiness; religion but not salvation; a passport to everywhere but heaven.

In Psalm 62:10 David wrote, “If riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” David put his trust in the Lord.

But some have put their trust in Wall Street. Others have put their trust in Washington. They say, “Oh, if we could just get the Republicans in office; or if we could just get the Democrats to listen to their constituents, or is the president would do this or Congress would do that.”

When David wrote this Psalm he was living in the court of King Saul: and he was troubled by what was taking place in Israel politically. Living in the palace, he had an insider’s look at the corruption that was taking place within the leadership of his nation of Israel. Law and order, truth, justice, morality, decency, and integrity were all being thrown out the window as the nation slipped further away from God.

Now, God established the government for our good and I thank God for the good and godly men and women who serve us in the halls of government. But unfortunately, Washington has become known for its corruption. Mark Twain once said, “America is a nation without a distinct criminal class with the possible exception of Congress.”

Then, don’t put your faith in worldly wisdom. David did not do that. In Psalm 111: 10 David said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments.”

Think about the worldly wisdom that is dispensed by our educational system today. Now, I know that we have wonderful, God fearing teachers in our public schools, but our educational system has changed in the last 50 years. The three “R’s” (reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic) have been replaced by the three “C’s” (crime, chaos, and confusion).

The Gideons cannot hand out Bibles anymore, but Planned Parenthood can hand out condoms.

Our children are taught to be tolerant of everybody and everything - homosexuals, abortionists, Muslims, and the like – everyone except Bible- believing Christians.

Environmental studies has replaced economics

Globalism has replaced geography

Humanism has replaced history

Sensitivity training has replaced sociology

Socialism has replaced social studies

So, our trust must not be in Wall Street, in Washington, in worldly wisdom. We must say with David, “In the Lord I put my trust.”

Then our trust must not be in weaponry. We could trust in the military to deliver us from terrorism, totalitarianism and all the fiery darts of the wicked, but that would also be unprofitable. David said, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7).

Do you remember what happened when David went out to the Valley of Elah to visit his brothers who were on the front line of battle? Goliath, the Philistine, was leading his army against the Israelites. Every day this behemoth would come out and taunt the army of Israel and say, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.”

Well, when David saw that no one would accept Goliath’s challenge, he resolved to accept the challenge to confront the giant himself. He said,

“For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

When King Saul tried to fit David with his own armor David rejected it and said, “The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.” David was not trusting in the military might of Israel or the armor of Saul or his weaponry. In this dangerous, nerve-racking time in David’s life he was trusting in the Lord.

II. The Flight We Must Refuse

Look in our text once again. Verse 1 says, “In the Lord I put my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?” In the difficult day in which David lived there were those around him who advised him to “flee as a bird” – to run for cover.

Have you ever wanted to do that? When I was pastor of Eastside Baptist Church we had a staff member who was indicted on 21 counts of child molestation and 3 counts of aggravated child molestation. It was the most difficult time in my ministry. I will be honest with you. I wanted to go somewhere and hide. But God would not give the permission to do it.

But let me tell you something. You can’t run from a crisis. You can’t run from trouble. When it seems like everything is coming loose at the seams you can’t crawl in a hole and find refuge. You can’t escape it with a bottle of booze; and you can’t escape it with a bottle of booze. And by the way you can’t cover up your sins and hide from them.

For David to flee at that time, without God’s permission, would have been an act of mistrust in God. In fact, to flee to the mountains without God’s permission is, first of all, to deny the sovereignty of God.

Notice what he says in verse four. He says, “The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven.” Confusion may rule. Calamity may reign. Chaos may ruin your day, but God is on His throne. That fourth verse speaks of the sovereignty of God.

Back in the sixties when I was in college some offbeat theologians came up with the philosophy that God is dead. All they were doing was reviving the atheistic philosopher Nietzsche’s philosophy that proclaimed the death of God. They got in their little cubbyholes, their libraries, and got out their books, and their foolish assumptions and they said, “We think God is dead, because we can’t find Him on our terms.”

And friend, if God is nothing more than a concept or an assumption for one generation or another, He is dead. But He is not dead. He can’t die. He is not that kind of God. He is an eternal God.

  When Dr. S.M. Lockridge, a black pastor from San Diego, heard these theologians announce that God is dead he said, “Wait just a minute. If God is dead, who assassinated Him? What coroner was called? Who signed His death certificate? In what obituary column did you find the announcement? And why wasn’t I notified. I am a member of the family, one of the next of kin?

Those are valid questions. God doesn’t die by assassination, by pronouncement or by denial. He is as real today as He was when Adam and Eve walked upon the earth; and not only is He alive, He is sovereign.

Sometimes it looks like God has abdicated His throne, because He is strangely silent. Evil men wax worse and worse. The foundations are shaking. The infrastructure is collapsing, but God is in His heaven.

Spurgeon said, “There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought to more earnestly contend to than the doctrine of their Master over all creation – the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands – the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne… for it is God upon the Throne whom we trust.”

So, to flee to the mountain, to run and hide in a time of trial is to deny the sovereignty of God. But it is also to deny the strength of God. David said, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?”

I believe that He that is within me is greater than he that is within the world, so why should I flee?

A young boy traveling by airplane to visit his grandparents sat beside a man who happened to be a seminary professor. The boy was reading a Sunday school take-home paper when the professor thought he would have some fun with the lad.

“Young man,” said the professor, “If you can tell me something God can do, I’ll give you a big, shiny apple.”

The boy thought for a moment and then replied, “Mister, if you can tell me something God can’t do, I’ll give you a whole barrel of apples!”

God can do anything; and when we think about fleeing to the mountains instead of facing the challenges of life we deny God’s strength. We show and lack of faith and say, “God, I think this situation is too big for you to handle.”

But as we think about the flight we must refuse, let me say that when we choose to flee in the face of great challenges we not only give evidence that we deny the sovereignty of God and the strength of God, but we give evidence that we deny the scriptures of God. We give evidence that we do not believe what God says when He tells us that He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

We have the privilege of claiming the promises of God’s Word. Adrian Rogers used to say, “God’s promises are not to be cross-stitched and framed and hung on the wall. They are to be taken to the bank of heaven and cashed in as promissory notes.”

But when we flee to the mountains, when we retreat in a time of crisis we give evidence that we do not believe the promises of God’s Word. We give evidence that we deny the sovereignty of God, the strength of God and the Scriptures of God.

III. The Foundations We Must Restore

Notice what David asks in verse 3: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” David’s question amounted almost to a cry of despair. He could see the throne, the establishment, the foundation, if you like, being undermined by unscrupulous and vicious men.

The word “foundations” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “the settled order of things.” David likened society to a building. The foundation of society is law and order, justice and truth. If law and order, justice and truth are undermined in a society then what can the righteous do? In the original text the form of the question is such that David can find no answer.

America was founded upon the principles of law, order, truth, justice, morality, decency, and integrity.

Patrick Henry, one of the most prominent figures in the American Revolution, said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

John Jay, the first president of the Continental Congress and first Chief Justice of the United States, said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”

But we as a people have abandoned those cherished principles upon which we were founded. I was reading some time ago in U. S. News and World Report an article entitled “A Nation of Liars.” The article went on to say that our nation is now being operated on falsehood. And I quote, “Government officials dissemble. Scientists falsely research. Workers alter career credentials to get jobs. What’s going on here? The answer is an alarming decline in basic honesty.” And then for about five pages, this new article went on to show that we have become a land of liars.

There is also a book entitled, “The Day America Told the Truth.” The book details the moral decline of the nation. Then the book says that we are a people with “individualized moral menus.” We decide what is wrong or right. We are the authorities over the church, over God, over government over the laws and the police. What has happened in this country is that we have a “whatever-I’m- feeling” based morality. The nation is beginning to trash any sort of real moral standard. We have no common moral conscience.

But what can the righteous do? I actually think there is another question that must be asked first. It is this: “What have the righteous failed to do that has gotten us into this precarious position?”

I think most of us have been alarmingly apathetic and sinfully silent. Most of us have idly sat by and watched the country deteriorate morally and spiritually. Do you think Peter, James, John or the apostle Paul would have sat by complacently and watched the church lose her influence in American life.”

Vance Havner said, “It’s high time that something, persecution if necessary, broke up our complacency and made missionaries out of mere church members.”

How many of you remember the story of the little red hen? I’m sure that you boys and girls know that story. The little red hen found a grain of wheat and she proposed to plant the grain of wheat. But she said, “Who will help me plant this wheat?”

“Not I,” said the duck. “Not I,” said the goose. “Not I,” said the cat. “Not I,” said the pig.

The little red hen said, “Well, I will plant it myself.”

When it came time to reap the wheat, she said, “Who will help me reap the wheat?”

“Not I,” said the duck.

“Not I,” said the goose.

Not I,” said the cat.

“Not I,” said the pig.

And the little red hen said, “Will then, I will reap it myself.”

You know the story. She asked all four animals, “Who will help me carry the wheat to the mill?” and then, “Who will help me carry the flour home?” and then, “Who will help me make it into dough?” and then, “Who will help me bake the bread?”

And each time the duck said, “No,” the goose said, “No.” the cat said, “No,” the pig said, “No.” They didn’t want to become involved, and it is our lack of involvement and our silence that has gotten us to where we are today. It has been said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

But notice what verse 4 of our text says: “The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” The eternal Watcher never slumbers; His eyes never know sleep. The Lord carefully inspects the words and deeds of His children.

Then in verse 5 it says, “The Lord trieth the righteous.” It is the same idea that is conveyed in Genesis 22: 1 when God commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac as a burnt offering. In Genesis 22:1 the Bible says, “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt (or try) Abraham.”

In view of all that is happening in our land today I believe God is trying us. He is testing us. He wants to see what we are made of.

I do not believe our primary response is to march on Washington or call our congressmen or go to some “Tea Party” or organize a march or pass a resolution or raise a protest.

Our response is to simply trust the Lord and live in such a way that He can look upon us with favor. John Phillips, in his commentary on Exploring the Psalms says that there are two alternatives that could be in God’s mind for dealing with the situation today.

The first option could be revival. There is nothing like an old-fashioned, Holy Ghost revival for cleaning up a corrupt society. The devil has never learned how to cope with revival for the simple reason he is no match for the Holy Ghost. One really good, soul saving, life-transforming, earth-shaking revival could put righteousness, morality, integrity, and faith back into every phase of human life and society.

The second option God has could be ruin. God could just as easily rapture the church and just let the wickedness work itself out to its logical conclusion in the coming of the antichrist and the horrors that will attend his reign.


America’s foundations were crumbling prior to the first great awakening in 18th century, but God’s people began to pray and through the preaching of George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards revival swept through the land and restored the crumbling foundations and saved the nation.

Once again America’s foundations were crumbling prior to the second great awakening in the early part of the 19th century. But God used mighty prayer meetings and the preaching of Charles Finney, Lyman Beecher and Peter Cartwright to bring a spirit of revival to the land.

So, God is trying us to see whether or not He wants to send ruin or revival. I believe that God could send one more revival to America, but it will depend upon God’s people setting aside their casual Christianity and giving Christ the place of preeminence in their lives. Nothing less will do.

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