Psalm 11 | Throwing It All Away
DAVID GOFF | August 5, 2020
In the Lord I put my trust;
How can you say to my soul,
“Flee as a bird to your mountain”?
For look! The wicked bend their bow,
They make ready their arrow on the string,
That they may shoot secretly 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 behold,
His eyelids test the sons of men.
The Lord tests the righteous,
But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.
Upon the wicked He will rain coals;
Fire and brimstone and a burning wind
Shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous,
He loves righteousness;
His countenance beholds the upright.
On September 11, 2001, soon after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Secret Service decided that the safest place for President George W. Bush was on Air Force One.
The time spent in the air was filled with both uncertainty and an intense fear of the unknown. After many hours, the Secret Service insisted that the President not return to Washington D.C. The risk of a second wave of attacks raised by the CIA seemed too dangerous to justify a return. Yet despite their calls to retreat, the President responded by stating, “I’m coming home.” Later that evening, Air Force One arrived in Washington, D.C., where he was able to address the nation from the White House.
In Psalm 11, we see David facing a similarly dire and tempting situation. Those around him encouraged him to throw away God’s call on his life and flee for “safety” in the mountains. Despite the peril, David’s faith in the Lord empowered him to stand firm.
In reflecting upon David’s response, we glean two truths to encourage our faith and endurance in our circumstances:
The Lord is sovereign over your struggle
In Psalm 11, we see right from the first verse that David is being tempted by those around him to consider abandoning his post and fleeing for safety. Their words entice him saying, “Flee as a bird to your mountain” (Psalm 11:1). Fleeing must have seemed like a reasonable option for David as he was under a great deal of danger at the time. He describes his enemy’s readiness to attack him as archers who “make ready their arrow on the string” (11:2).
Yet, despite the difficulty, David stands his ground by focusing on God’s sovereignty and holiness. In verse 4, David proclaims that the Lord and His throne reside in His holy temple. The word “holy” describes the Lord as being set apart and perfect in all ways, including His plans for David. David could rest in knowing all that God ordains for his life is best. This would be a truth that David could hold onto throughout his life, whether it be waiting for a long seven years after being anointed to take the throne of Israel or dealing with his rebellious son, Absalom.
This truth is also a helpful reminder in our own lives. When God’s plans for our life seem hard - we may look for an easy way out. But we should remember that He has a purpose, our good, and His glory in mind through it all.
You might be thinking to yourself, knowing that God’s plans for my life are perfect is very encouraging. But, does God understand all the specific challenges I am going through?
The Lord knows all the details
The second encouragement we see in this Psalm is the fact that the Lord knows all the details of our circumstances. We see this clearly in the words, “…His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The Lord tests the righteous…” (11:4-5).
When we think of God seated in His throne in heaven, we can forget that He sees everything and is involved with all the details of our lives. The prophet Jeremiah says it this way:
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:10)
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that God is far away and aloof. Take comfort in the fact that His all-seeing eye penetrates the hearts and minds of every individual. As He sovereignly works out His will in your life - He is also doing the same with each person around us. What an amazing thing to consider and an amazing God we worship!
When God’s plan for our life seems hard - we may be tempted by those around us to throw it all away. Yet, when we remind ourselves of the beautiful truth that the Lord is sovereign and knows every detail of each struggle - we can be encouraged. And when the voices of the tempters come, like David, we can confidently put our trust in the Lord.
David Goff is the Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church, Washington MI