Summary: Psalm 11 reminds us that even though the situation around us seems to be out of control, chaotic, very dangerous, and scary, God, whose throne is in heaven, sees everyone and everything, is still in control. Therefore, we can trust in Him and make Him our security and our refuge.
Opening: Last Sunday, we have learned six things from Ephesians 5:15-20 that God wants to do this year and in the rest of our lives: 1) To be careful in spending our time 2) To be productive 3) To be wise 4) To be filled by the Spirit 5) To praise God 6) To be thankful in all circumstances. Today, we will learn what God wants us to do when facing a threat, challenge, or danger in our lives. Let us read from Psalm 11.
Verse 1: David began this psalm with a statement of faith: "In the Lord I take refuge." So, he asked his friends why they told him to "Flee like a bird to your mountain." When birds face the danger of storms, they fly to the mountain for their safety. Why did David's friends ask him to flee?
Verse 2: His friends gave him the reason: "For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart." Probably the wicked that David's friends meant was King Saul and his people. As you know, after David killed Goliath, he became a national hero. In the beginning, King Saul liked him. He invited David to live with him. When Saul was sad, David made music for him. That made Saul happy again. Later, because of David's popularity, Saul became jealous. He thought that David wanted to become king. That was not true. But King Saul had become wicked and wanted to kill David, the innocent young man. If the man who tried to kill David was a peasant, he should not worry too much. But the man was a king who had great power and many soldiers. So, David was in great danger.
In Verse 3: His friend explained more about the situation: "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" As a king, Saul should protect his people and enforce the law. Instead, he destroyed the law and misused the power that God gave. 1 Sam 22 recorded how Saul killed the priests of Nob. In that situation, what David could do?
More than fifty years ago, Arno. C. Gabelein called this the burning question of our day. What Can The Righteous Do When:
- Society undermines morality, and evil sweeps unchecked?
- The Bible is attacked, and its teachings are ridiculed and ignored?
- Even professed Christians support the rising tide of unbelief?
- Family values are crumbling, and the wave of frequent divorce sweeps forward with increasing damage to children, parents, and society alike?
- Everything around us seems to be giving way?
That is still a common question among God's people. It is frustrating to feel powerless in the face of crumbling foundations, and some become convinced that there is nothing we can do. In that situation, some people follow the poor advice of "flee," or in our modern times, "hunker down, get in the bunker, save yourself and your children and withdraw completely from society."
When the foundations are crumbling, the temptation is to stop speaking the truth and stop being the light. "What can the righteous do?" They can go on being righteous. And they can stand against the evil of their society. The one thing they must not do is to 'flee to the mountains.' That was what David did. He refused to run away. He said, "In the LORD I take refuge." He was not afraid of King Saul, who wanted to kill him because he had God, the LORD, who is greater and more powerful than King Saul. Instead of running away, he ran to God and followed His guidance! Later, David did go because God told him to.
App.: We live in a situation that is similar to David. What Arno Gabelein wrote above is happening in our society. Sometimes we feel like this. We want to run away. We say, "Everything is going wrong." We must be like David. We must stay where God puts us!
Verses 4a: "The Lord is in His holy temple." The temple of God reminds His people of His presence among them. David believed that God never abandoned him. God is his protector!
Verse 4b "the Lord's throne is in heaven." King Saul's throne is only in a small country in the Middle East. But God's throne is in heaven, which is above all kings' thrones on earth. In other words, God is the most powerful One. For David, no matter how dangerous his situation was, he put his trust in the almighty God and only feared Him. Remember: Even if no one believes in God, God still exists. Even if no one believes that the Bible is the word of God, it is still the truth. Even if no one cares for the Bible's teachings, they will still judge everyone on the last day. Even if no one thinks that judgment day will arrive, Jesus will still come and execute His judgment. New Testament Christians also lived during a time of "crumbling foundations." Yet, they were reminded that God's truth was still valid. The eternal foundations were still intact; do not be deceived when people claim otherwise (Eph 5:6).