In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:1–3)
King David was in trouble. His advisors urged him to flee the coming danger. “It is already too late,” they suggested. “The foundations of the nation are already beyond repair. Bows are being strung. Arrows are being pulled from the quiver. You are outnumbered, and you have a target on you. You don’t know who is friend or foe. Fly like a bird to the mountains. What can one righteous man do, anyway?”
How tempting it is to think this way as we see the foundations of our godly nation crumbling before our eyes. The sin around us seeps into our homes, into our very lives. The righteous are outnumbered, and the enemies of the Lord are stringing their bows. And we think, it’s already too late. What can one average person do? What can one family do? What can one church do?
As David’s advisors recommend, we too, are tempted to escape. In the past, the church has sometimes done this by physically secluding herself from enemies by creating monasteries, nunneries, and communities like the Amish. We may not do those things anymore, but I can think of several ways we still escape today:
- We bury our heads in the sand. Years ago, my mom had an old car with a check engine light that would never go off. She put a smiley face sticker over it. Maybe if we ignore the issues, they’ll just go away.
- We run and hide. One way we flee to the mountains is by isolating ourselves. We keep to ourselves and keep our heads down. We go to church and enjoy the fellowship but keep our religion a private matter. Church is our safe space. Religion is for Sundays.
- We become cantankerous. We may try to isolate and insulate ourselves, but we’re not happy about it. We surround ourselves with social media echo chambers and share condemning content. We preach angry sermons. Everyone knows what we’re against but not what we’re for. We’re problem spotters without solutions. We’re the religious equivalent of the angry neighbor yelling at kids to stay off of his lawn.
- We throw in the towel. Or, we simply give up. Swimming upstream takes way too much spiritual and emotional energy. Why not just join the crowd?
But David shows us the way: In the Lord I take refuge. Why would I run when God is with me? I’m not going anywhere. Escape is not the answer. The answer for God’s people who find themselves in the midst of cultural decline isn’t escape; it is engagement. We don’t run from problems, especially with the Lord on our side, and especially because we have the answers!
Don’t hide out, Join us for church!