If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Ps.13:7)
It’s deeply upsetting when the good things in a community or nation are being progressively destroyed. The good and godly institutions of the West like marriage, continue to be under pressure. We know this is not right. But lamenting is insufficient for the Christian, or it should be. Why?
The Christian believes in certain things. He believes in a sovereign God Who made the world in six days, Who rules all the affairs of men. His ethics are found in scripture, and He’ll hold us all to account concerning them.
We have to do a lot more than shake our fists at the humanist’s parade. They may be parading, but we must be working at articulating and building a God honouring, viable alternative. And that cannot happen overnight.
Nehemiah heard of the state of Jerusalem when he was in Susa. He was told that
The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burnt with fire (Neh.1:3).
Nehemiah was deeply upset about this. The Bible says that he
sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven (v.4).
The scripture then records the seven verses of Nehemiah’s prayer. He’d been greatly upset, so he prayed and fasted. Is that where he stopped? No. Now, he acted in faith, which godly people must always do. He had a plan, that he put before his master the king. He said
…send me to Judah, to the city of my father’s tombs, that I may rebuild it (Neh.2:5).
Lamenting just won’t ever be enough for the believer, because if we stop at that, we’ve never gone far enough. Yes, lament if you wish, but ensure that it leads to the thing God always wants it to lead to: prayer and action.
When we got married in 1979, I heard this simple saying:
Men of action, have satisfaction.
Nehemiah moved from hearing, to lamenting, to praying (with fasting), to acting, and we must do this too.
How do we do it? Well, the Bible tells us. It says that
Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell (Isa.58:12).
The godly man has to begin with his family; their education and discipleship. He has to begin at the beginning with what God has given him, and this will require his dedication, his time, and some of his money.
Thankfully, the cost of a godly education in terms of dollars continues to decline in relative terms. The internet is going to keep driving this cost down. Economics tells us this: as the price of something is reduced, more is demanded.
That means that there is and will be a growing market for home education. That means that over the next few decades, the ranks of home schoolers are likely to broaden, while public education has already peaked: it’s struggling.
The Bible speaks of the consequences of this man’s activities:
Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever (Ps.112:1-3).
But the godly couple knows there is more than just their family that needs to be rebuilt. They have to consider the church, too. Like the family, it’s of vital importance for the future. Paul declared that
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (I Cor.3:10, 11).
So, the godly couple are investing in their church: their tithe, their faithfulness and their time. The church is all about God and His people. They know it’s a God ordained, essential social institution of the future, which has received magnificent promises from God:
You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isa.62:6, 7).
Conclusion: There are many things wrong with our society, and it doesn’t require a rocket-science degree to understand it. But what are we to do? We have to go back and begin at the beginning.
And where is that? With God and His Word; with the family and the church.
Events do take place that are disappointing and disheartening, but we have to look beyond these, and accept the encouragement that Nehemiah received from his fellow-workers, hundreds of years before Christ:
…Let us arise and build (Neh.2:18).