Summary: A special sermon for the Sept. 11 tragedy.


By Gordan Runyan

Text: Psalm 11

Summary statement: A politically incorrect look at the God who hates sin and promises to deal with it.


Years ago, a Christian friend introduced me to a device that allows one to read the Psalms and Proverbs devotionally, so that each book is read once a month. Here is how it works. Today is the 12th day of the month, so we start by reading Psalm 12 [Change these numbers and the following ones to work for the day you’re actually in]. Then, we add 30 to that number and get 42. We read the 42nd Psalm. We add thirty again and so on. Each day of the month, then, you read five Psalms. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, so you simply read the one for that day. I have since fallen in love with this method for my daily devotions and am constantly surprised by recurring themes in a day and correlations between that theme I perceive and what I find spoken of in the Proverbs.

This is the method I used for my devotions on September 11th, 2001, only a couple of hours before the attacks on the World Trade Center. Today, I look back at that day and am struck by the gracious Providence of God in the first Psalm that popped up for the day. It was Psalm 11, of course.

1. In the Lord I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain?”

2. 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.

3. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?

4. The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes behold, his eyelids test the sons of men.

5. The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.

6. Upon the wicked He will rain coals, fire and brimstone and a burning wind; this shall be the portion of their cup.

7. For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.

(New King James Version)

Now, in using this Psalm to reflect on recent events, I want no one to make the mistake of thinking that I am here casting the United States in the role of the “righteous” in Psalm 11. That would be far from true, but it is also true that the Lord has many people here, and if their nation is invaded, they are truly under attack.

The temptation that David faced when he wrote this Psalm was simply to be afraid of his enemies, to fear them, to flee from them. That is precisely the temptation that confronts this land in the face of terrorism and mass murder on our own soil.

David faced down this temptation and confronted this fear successfully because he was able to remember some things about his God.

In verse 4, the “holy temple” is the same as the heavenly throne. Today, I want to remind you that the Lord who is the head of our Church in all things, is also the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, ruler of all the nations of the earth. Ours is not a God who is in charge of things on Sunday morning but then must bow to the whims of the “real” rulers of the earth on Monday thru Saturday! He is King, even now. He is in charge, even now. Even now, not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from His control, and neither does one human being. God is in charge. It is true that the present age is evil, unspeakably so at times, but this does not mean that our God has lost his sovereignty.

Rest assured then, that what has happened in the last several days has not gone unnoticed. His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. God was watching. God is watching. And what I want us to remember is that as vivid as the video clips were that streamed out of New York City on that day, as brutally clear and frightening as they were…remember that God saw it all more clearly than any camera could ever capture. He saw the hearts of every individual involved. He heard the prayers and cries of the victims, and, yes, He knows very well the details about the perpetrators.

The last three verses of Psalm 11 detail God’s differing attitudes toward the “righteous” and the “wicked.”


This where this message turns “Politically Incorrect” in a big way. And not simply incorrect where the culture is concerned, either. I’m about to say some things that would be reacted to badly even within the church. And that is a sad thing. But, somebody should say these things, and say them clearly.

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