Summary: A Call to faith and renewal in the wake of the terrorist attack on the United States
Psalms 10 and 11
Lord’s Days 52 and 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism
September 16, 200`
"Terror and Trust"
Dear Congregation of our Lord, Jesus Christ,
Psalms 10 and 11 seem to go together. Both were apparently written in times of tremendous fear, perhaps war. Some of you remember such times from WW II. The enemy "sits in ambush....in hiding places he murders the innocent." Does that sound familiar? The terrorist attack has been compared to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor was a sneak attack. This too was a sneak attack, only one step sneakier. The terrorist, the pundits say, is a new kind of enemy. He doesn’t accept responsibility, and declare himself as an enemy. He likes to hide.
He sits in ambush, in hiding places, and murders the innocent.
The result is a real insecurity. If they have their way, the result is, in fact, terror. How do we respond to terrorism? I’m sure you’ve heard this before...in times of danger, there are two instinctive responses. Fight or Flight.
That is the instinctive response. But what’s the right response? That is an important question for us, because Psalm 11 says that the Lord examines us, and his soul hates violence, but he loves justice. So what’s right? Fight or Flight? Both.
But first, we need a paradigm shift. A new perspective. A different way of looking at things! We need to flee and fight. But first, we need a paradigm shift, that is, a different way of looking at things. The world leaders and media are telling us, in effect, that we need to have a paradigm shift with respect to terrorists...we are told that we have to think of opposing them in terms of a war, like the war on drugs. We have been asked to join in a war on terrorism, and to see terrorists as war criminals. That is a paradigm shift. But it is not radical enough. That is, it does not get to the root of the matter.
I couldn’t help notice how, in the midst of terror, all of a sudden, people have a paradigm shift. What was the most common expression of people on the videotapes of the attacks on the world trade centre? It was "Oh My God!"
You have the same kind of abrupt change in Psalm 11. Notice the abrupt change from Psalm 11:3 to 11:4. In verse 3 you have the question "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" The Psalmist appears not to answer. Instead he suddenly changes the subject. "The Lord is in His Holy temple, the Lord is on his heavenly throne." What does this abrupt change of topics accomplish? It jars us into a paradigm shift, into a completely different way of looking at things...from God’s point of view. It brings us from terror to "Oh My God" ...only reverently, not as an empty blasphemy.
Note well....God’s view is from the pinnacle of holiness. High towers like the former World Trade towers, and the CN tower, from their lofty elevations, offer a different perspective on all below. But it is not high enough for what the Psalmist has in mind. And viewing terrorists as "the enemy that can be anywhere and everywhere" is not radical enough.