PSALM 11: DO YOU TAKE REFUGE IN THE LORD OR NOT?
For the director of music. Of David.
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, NIV
This psalm of David seems to be a response to advisors and friends who give David watered down advice about where he places his faith and seeks refuge. He blurts out, "In the Lord I take refuge!"
He continues with a metaphor of running away from danger, "flee like a bird to your mountain." It seems fleeing is a stand in for finding refuge in God. Maybe that explains the questioning tone, "How can you say to me, 'flee like a bird to your mountain'?" David take exception to this weak advice. "I find refuge not in fleeing danger but in standing with God as my refuge and strength."
Evil people are taking potshots in the dark, the foundations of the kingdom are crumbling, so what can we do?
David calls Israel to remember the foundation of refuge. God is in His Holy dwelling place. Does he mean necessarily the physical temple or the heavens (he says, YHWH's throne is in heaven). From where God dwells He gazes and seeks out the righteous, and this reminds me of how proud parents look at their children.
On the other hand, YHWH loathes the wicked who love injustice, and he will rain down punishment (visible, tangible signs are blazing coals, sulfur, scorching wind).
God loves righteous deeds, and the promise is that the righteous will see the face of God.
Learn what a righteous deed is. The brother of our Lord, James, said, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27, NIV)
The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
his eyes examine them.
The Lord examines the righteous,
but the wicked, those who love violence,
he hates with a passion.
On the wicked he will rain
fiery coals and burning sulfur;
a scorching wind will be their lot.
For the Lord is righteous,
he loves justice;
the upright will see his face.
PSALM 11:4-7, NIV
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.