Psalms 11

Psalm 11

The Lord Is in His Holy Temple

To the choirmaster. Of David.

11   In the LORD I take refuge;
  how can you say to my soul,
    “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
  for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
    they have fitted their arrow to the string
    to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
  if the foundations are destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?”
  The LORD is in his holy temple;
    the LORD’s throne is in heaven;
    his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
  The LORD tests the righteous,
    but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
  Let him rain coals on the wicked;
    fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
  For the LORD is righteous;
  he loves righteous deeds;
    the upright shall behold his face.


Psalm 11 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Many scholars believe this Psalm was written while David was still in King Saul’s court. The hatred of David by Saul had just begun but had not manifested into open persecution quite yet. People who claimed to be David’s friends mocked him by encouraging him to “flee to a mountain far away.” Although this makes sense, we can’t be entirely sure as to the historical context of this Psalm. Nevertheless, the central theme is worldly advice vs Godly advice.

For the choir director. A Psalm of David. In the LORD I take refuge; How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain;

Psalms 11:1 NASB

The idea of fleeing at this time seemed preposterous to David. He, like many Christian martyrs who came after him, believed and trusted that God was doing more in persecution and suffering than what could be done by running. He rejected the counsel of man during a time when it would have made sense to follow. How does this apply to us today?

People throw advice at us almost every day. Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t. Often, we base our interpretation of this advice on safety and comfort. It’s easy to think in these terms because we, as Americans, are some of the most protected Christians in all the world. Verse 3 asks us rhetorically if the foundations are torn down, what can the righteous do? It is an imminent threat to a characteristic (safety) that we hold to a high standard in our Western culture.

There is not an answer given directly by a single verse. The Psalm itself is the answer. The entire Psalm is a countercultural expression of radical trust despite the current circumstance. Even when there are no answers to be found in this world, there is always an answer to be found in Jesus. Trust. Faith. Refuge. God is our home, providing supernatural peace to our souls. The righteous can trust that they will see God’s face as they seek Him. His Word will not return void. God is acting in the here and now even when we can’t see it. We must believe this just as David did!

David trusted God’s provision and protection over human advice. He is a practical example we can follow when facing similar circumstances.

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