I was doing one of my periodic pilgrimages through the Psalms this week, and I came across a plaintive cry from King David. It got into my mind and I can’t get it out. Here’s what he said: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” I was struck by a footnote on the word “foundations”. It remarked that, figuratively, the word was talking about the moral and political support of a society. And, in a lot of ways, that feels like where we are in our own society today. The foundations—the moral and political support of our society are being destroyed.
The question of what the righteous can do, then, is not merely a helpless complaint made while throwing hands in the air. It is an honest question: “What can we do?” And, when you put it that way, there is much that the righteous can do—more than you might have thought. But, for starters, you’ve really got to realize what it is that you’re up against. One thing that stands in opposition are the people the Psalmist calls “the Wicked”.
Who are these people? In Psalm 11, they are as characterized as cowards who shoot arrows at us from the darkness, afraid to fight in the light of day. This theme of “the Wicked” is common in the psalms. In fact, the psalm just before, Psalm 10, outlines exactly the character of this person. This is not one of the beautiful Psalms; it is downright disturbing. When the Bible speaks of “the Wicked”, it is speaking of a singular evil. This is not merely a misguided person. This is not an ordinary sinner, like most of us. This is evil personified.