This is a photo of a 1900s era schoolhouse on my property. It was actually called the Friendship School, and the people who built my house in 1915 rolled it down to the property on logs with a mule team. They lived in it while they built my house, and after my house was completed they used it as a granary. Presently, I use it as a woodshed. And I’ve got to admit, I’m surprised it hasn’t fallen in yet. The roof is all but gone. The floors are all rotted out. But even in some of the worst windstorms that have blown through, even though bits of the roof let go and pieces of the wood siding flies off, the whole building hasn’t collapsed yet. Why? Well, the only thing I can figure out is that it has a strong foundation.
Strong foundations are essential for any type of building if you want it to last a long time. It can be sturdy and solid with strong walls and a good roof, but if the foundation isn’t strong, it won’t be able to withstand the storms that inevitably will come.
Today’s verse is Psalm 11:1-3.
I trust in the Lord for protection.
So why do you say to me,
“Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety!
The wicked are stringing their bows
and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings.
They shoot from the shadows
at those whose hearts are right.
The foundations of law and order have collapsed.
What can the righteous do?”
I posted about foundations during my family vacation this year. If you build on a foundation that is unstable, your building will be unstable. If your foundation collapses underneath you, your entire structure will collapse too. And it’s the same way with our lives. If we build our lives on something unsteady and changing, like the whims of culture or the fleeting desires of our own hearts, our lives will come crashing down at the first sign of trouble.
That’s why we need to build our lives on something that doesn’t change, God’s Word. God’s perspective. God’s truth. Our lives need to stand on what He says is right. We need to make our choices based on what He says is good. And we need to avoid the things that He says are wrong.
But the trouble with our world is that no one is building with God as the foundation anymore, not even in the Christian community. Even among Christians, it’s rare to find someone who is building their lives solely on God’s Word. And the people who do are called old-fashioned or closed-minded. But when the really hard choices come down (and they always do), who has the answers? When it comes time to make the really difficult decisions, who is solid and who wavers? Who compromises what is absolutely right?
Weak foundations require compromise. How else do you keep a building with a bad foundation standing? But compromise never makes anyone stronger. And once the storm comes and those foundations have collapsed, once that building has come crashing down, what’s next? What can you do?
All you can do is pick up the pieces and start again. Rebuild.
See that’s what’s awesome about God is that He lets us rebuild. If you read the Old Testament, it is a history of God giving second and third and forth and fiftieth chances to the people of Israel. How many times did they rebuild the temple?
God is awesome to give us the opportunity to rebuild our lives. And even if we didn’t start with a good foundation, we can always build a new one when we start over. But it’s so much easier if you start with a good foundation. Because even if you rebuild, you still have to clean up the remnants of what you built first.
I love the Message. So this is Psalm 11 in the Message.
1-3I’ve already run for dear life straight to the arms of God.
So why would I run away now
when you say,
“Run to the mountains; the evil
bows are bent, the wicked arrows
Aimed to shoot under cover of darkness
at every heart open to God.
The bottom’s dropped out of the country;
good people don’t have a chance”?
4-6 But God hasn’t moved to the mountains;
his holy address hasn’t changed.
He’s in charge, as always, his eyes
taking everything in, his eyelids
Unblinking, examining Adam’s unruly brood
inside and out, not missing a thing.
He tests the good and the bad alike;
if anyone cheats, God’s outraged.
Fail the test and you’re out,
out in a hail of firestones,
Drinking from a canteen
filled with hot desert wind.
7 God’s business is putting things right;
he loves getting the lines straight,
Setting us straight. Once we’re standing tall,
we can look him straight in the eye.