It’s appropriate that the psalm I am discussing today in my series on Psalms is Psalm 11. Today is the inauguration day for Donald Trump, and in my lifetime, I can’t remember such a crazy time. People are either aghast at the behavior of Trump, or they are aghast at the behavior of those against him. It seems like the world has gone haywire!
David, who wrote Psalm 11, also felt like the world had gone haywire. For him, the situation was that King Saul, the king he followed and fought for, the king who was his father in law, had suddenly turned against him and was trying to kill him. (I Samuel 19) One moment David was just minding his own business, playing the lyre, and the next moment he was dodging a spear thrown at him by the monarch! He tried to go home,which should have been safe, but his wife convinced him to hightail it out of there. Which was good, because he just missed Saul’s men, who came to his house to do him ill.
So what do you do when the things get wonky, when injustice reigns, and you fear for the future?
You look to imitate the heart of David, who started Psalm 11 by declaring, “In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain.”
David’s attitude was, “Why should I run away? My confidence comes from God. I trust in him to keep me safe, not in my own actions.”
Of course, David did flee. But he did so with the belief that his life was in God’s hands, not Saul’s.
I like how the New Living Translation words verses 3 and 4:
The foundations of law and order have collapsed.
What can the righteous do?”
But the Lord is in his holy Temple;
the Lord still rules from heaven.
David’s message? GOD IS IN CONTROL. Nothing, not even the collapse of the world around him, would shake his faith in that.
And David also placed his confidence in his belief that God would execute justice. Psalms 11 goes on to read,
[The Lord] watches everyone closely,
examining every person on earth.
The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked.
He hates those who love violence.
He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked,
punishing them with scorching winds.
David knew that every wicked act would be punished. And when we read the Bible, we see that God did bring down many evil nations. The reference here seems to be to Sodom and Gomorrah, which God wiped out through fire. God’s angels told Lot, who was living in Sodom, “We are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”
It sometimes doesn’t seem like it, but God sees evil, and will deal with it, either in this life, or in the one to come.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Gal 6:7
David ended the psalm with this statement:
For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice;
the upright will see his face.
David couldn’t do anything about King Saul and his army except pray and put his faith in God’s righteousness. And then the most important thing he could do was to keep doing right, himself.
I’m not saying David didn’t fight for justice. He did. He stood up to Goliath! He ran off the Philistines who were harassing the Israelites of the town of Keilah, as I related in my last blog. There are many other examples.
But David knew that the most important battle was the one he fought internally, the one he fought to maintain his integrity and trust in God. He knew the reward for fighting this battle was the greatest one that could be achieved: maintaining the favor of God.
He knew the sweetest thing was to have the blessing of Numbers 6:23-24 ‘“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
To David, seeing God’s face meant that God’s countenance would continue to shine on him. It meant, as Matthew Henry explained in his commentary of Numbers 6, “To be under the almighty protection of God our Saviour; to enjoy his favour as the smile of a loving Father, or as the cheering beams of the sun; while he mercifully forgives our sins, supplies our wants, consoles the heart, and prepares us by his grace for eternal glory; these things form the substance of this blessing, and the sum total of all blessings.”
So things were a mess. It must have been hard for David not to get carried away with ranting about all the wrongs and injustices! But David retooled his thinking to be focused on God.
What do you do when the things get wonky, when injustice reigns, and you fear for the future ? I want to enjoin you to fight the wrongs, and stand up for justice.
But your primary focus should always be on fighting for your own integrity, so nothing gets in the way of experiencing the greatest treasure, the blessedness of a relationship with God.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matt 5:8