Even If the Foundations Are Destroyed, Fear-Mongering Is Not a Christian Option

“if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” –Psalm 11:3

In America we are seeing many of our foundations destroyed. There are godly principles upon which for hundreds of years we have stood. These pillars of our society are being decimated by an increasingly liberal and progressive culture. So, what should people of faith do? What will happen to this great nation when these foundations are destroyed?

The answer for many of our evangelical leaders is to fight for these foundations while they are only tottering. In their mind, we must keep fighting for these foundations of our society, so that our freedoms will be preserved. If we do not fight then we will be left with the same question as the Psalmist. If our foundations are destroyed what hope will the righteous have here in America? So we must preserve these foundations no matter the cost.

I believe a good argument could be made for working to preserve the Christian foundations of our nation. But the fear-mongering which comes from this logic is unhealthy. In fact, this way of thinking is the exact opposite of the point of Psalm 11:3.

Psalm 11:3 is connected with Psalm 11:2 and is to be placed on the lips of the cynic who is telling King David he ought to flee to the mountains. The cynic is the voice of the modern hand-wringing evangelical. But the Psalm begins with a rebuke of such a thought. The king is trusting in Yahweh as his refuge, therefore it is not fitting to say that he ought to flee to the mountain because the foundations are destroyed.

Those who peddle fear would have us believe that it is on some particular point that the foundation is still teetering. To not follow the party line on this issue will be to surrender every foundation and if this one falls then to the mountains we must go. And so if we desire to protect the foundations then we must hold our nose and vote for immoral men. We must overlook sexual immorality and accept pride and narcissism as a necessary evil to maintaining our foundations.

All the while we do not realize that when we buy what the fear mongers are selling and begin to peddle their words ourselves we are grabbing a sledgehammer ourselves and swinging at our foundations. The gospel is not made of fear but of hope. And hope has no home in a world driven by fear.

Psalm 11 paints a different picture. Here we see a world in which the one who trusts in the LORD can be immovable even when the foundations crumble. The mountains are no refuge, nor are they an option. Our foundation is immovable. Psalm 11 reminds us that we can be assured that God will vindicate His own righteousness. Was this not the point and hope of the religious right? To see God’s righteousness realized within the world. If this is the case, if it is not power but love for a life patterned after God and His Word which we seek, then we can res assured that God’s righteousness will win the day. He is not blind to the ways of the wicked nor deaf to the cause of the righteous.

Furthermore, Psalm 11 confirms for us that God will continually respond to His children in love. Even if it’s tough and painful love in the midst of the wreckage of a broken society. But he is a sure and certain refuge. This means that hope is never gone. We do not have to flee to the mountains, nor do we have to resort to cynicism or use a fear of fleeing to the mountains to engage in fear-mongering.

“If the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do?” is not intended to be a call to arms. It’s the desperate plea of a cynic. The words of hope are those of David: “In the LORD I take refuge”. This Psalm is realistic in that the foundations may crumble. But it’s also realistic in it’s hope and trust in the omniscient and omnipotent God of history. He will never crumble. This is a much better path to follow because David Murray is correct, “Christian hope has never been dashed on the rocks of reality.” (The Happy Christian, 93)

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Does God Answer the Prayers of An Unbeliever?

Your unbelieving friend is going through a difficult time. His whole life is falling apart, and you are praying that God would use this to bring him into a relationship with Jesus. You use this most recent trial as an opportunity to suggest that he pray to God about what is going on. But does God hear his prayer? Will God listen to the prayers of an unbeliever?

This is a question I’ve received quite a few times. And it is one of which you can find many articles if you ask Google. The general consensus is that God does not hear the prayers of unbelievers, except for the prayer of repentance. Verses like John 9:31 and Isaiah 59:2 are given to show that God does not hear sinners while they remain in their sin. God answers the prayer of the righteous. In a very helpful article John MacArthur lists fifteen reasons for unanswered prayer. And it serves as a basic profile of an unbeliever.

In my mind, though, we aren’t asking the right question. The real question isn’t whether or not God is going to give a person what they ask for if they are an unbeliever. That is not the nature of prayer. God is sovereign and he may or may not answer our requests. The real issue is whether or not an unbeliever has relational access to God apart from Christ. And that is a resounding no according to the Scriptures.

Unsurprisingly, I appreciate John Piper’s words on this:

As far as unbelievers are concerned, there is one prayer that we know God answers for them, the earnest plea to Christ for salvation. Whether God answers any other prayers of those who reject Christ is irrelevant. It is irrelevant whether persons who throw away eternal life and insist on going to hell are given a few earthly pleasures along the way. The only thing such pleasures will do for them, if they persist in their unbelief, is to make their guilt and their torment all the worse because they don’t use them as an occasion for repentance. So it is no great boon even if God does answer some of their prayers. (Source)

I’m inclined to say that the Scriptures teach that apart from union with Christ, which comes by grace alone through faith alone, then an unbeliever does not have relational access to God. That does not mean that God is incapable of hearing, nor that he is deaf to pleas for mercy. But it does mean that apart from the mediatoral work of Christ being applied to someone, they are not on good terms with God.

God is not a Santa Claus who dispenses gifts to good little boys and girls. He is a consuming fire who graciously relates to sinners through His Son. Does God answer the prayers of unbelievers? Maybe. We know he answers the prayer of repentance. But the better question, the eternally meaningful question, is whether or not unbelievers have relational access to God apart from Christ. That only comes through Jesus.

The good news of the gospel is that through Jesus Christ we have unhindered access to the throne room of God. The veil is torn. Let us, through Christ, plead with God for those who do not have the access we have.

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