1 In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain. 2 For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. 3 When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?’
Speaking to the Canadian Parliament in 1961 the then President of the United States John F Kennedy quoted words usually attributed to the Irish philosopher Edmund Burke “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” How many times has that proved to be true? Keep your head down, don’t get involved, mind your own business. It works for a while but evil unchecked has a habit of spreading and eventually it engulfs those who once turned a blind eye. That’s exactly the advice that seemed to be coming the psalmist’s way. “Flee like a bird to your mountain..., when the foundations are being destroyed what can the righteous do.”
It’s always tempting to follow such advice and perhaps we’ve done it more times than we care to admit. We can easily ignore injustice and side with the powerful if it costs us nothing and we don’t have to put ourselves out in any sense. However, the final verse of this psalm should be a guide for us as Christians. “For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.”
If the Lord loves justice then surely those who follow him must have a similar concern. We find the same thought in Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” The outworking of faith among other things, should be a concern for the poor and a love of justice. When he was asked what the greatest commandment in the law is Jesus replied: ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’ Matthew 22:37-40. If we would not put up with injustice, discrimination and disadvantage ourselves why do we ignore it and not speak up when it concerns those who have no voice?