I am uncertain of the historical context of Psalm 11; however, David was certainly facing the threat of an enemy and weighing the counsel of his advisers who urged him to flee.
Psalm 11:1-7 – “In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?
2 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.
3 If the foundations be 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 try, the children of men.
5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.”
There are times that retreat and flight at the threat of assault is a wise choice. David fled from the presence of Saul when the king moved to attack him. He fled Jerusalem after his son Absalom stole the affections of the people and led an insurrection against his father the king. We do not know if the enemy David faced in Psalm 11 was a foe within or without his kingdom; however the threat was significant enough for the king’s counselors to advise him to flee (11:1b-2).
Psalm 11:1-3 – “In the LORD put I my trust [confide; flee for protection; make refuge]: how say [speak; command] ye to my soul [life; person; mind], Flee [disappear; remove] as a bird to your mountain?
2 For, lo, the wicked [ungodly; immoral; guilty] bend their bow, they make ready [prepare; set up; fix] their arrow upon the string, that they may privily [secretly in the darkness] shoot at the upright [right; just; righteous] in heart [mind].
3 If the foundations [purpose; support; moral pillars] be destroyed [thrown down; pull down; broken in pieces], what can the righteous [just] do?”
David asserted his faith was in the LORD and asked his frightened counselors, would you have me flee like a frightened bird? (11:1) The king’s counselors reminded the king the plot of the wicked was to destroy the just and upright (11:2) and he, as king was the moral pillar, the foundation of the nation (11:3a). The counselors reasoned not only was the king’s life at risk, but also the lives and future of the nation (11:3b). In other words, what would become of the righteous should the king, representing not only human authority, but the nation’s spiritual relationship with God fail?
Psalm 11:4-7 is David’s answer to the questions and counsel of his frightened, faithless advisors.
Psalm 11:4 – “The LORD is in his holy [sacred; hallowed] temple, the LORD’S throne [seat] is in heaven: his eyes behold [perceive; look; gaze], his eyelids try [examine; prove], the children of men.”
David asserts that the LORD is Sovereign of His creation; His throne is in heaven and He, with a steady eye and unwavering gaze, observes the matters and affairs of men (11:4).
Psalm 11:5 – “The LORD trieth [proves; examines] the righteous [just; law abiding]: but the wicked [ungodly; immoral; guilty] and him that loveth violence [cruelty; injustice] his soul hateth [as a foe].”
Psalm 11:5 states the king’s confidence that the LORD knows the hearts of the righteous and He is the foe of men who afflict humanity with their evil deeds and acts of violence.
On a personal note and, for the sake of application to current events, I invite you to consider the violence, reign of terror, and wickedness afflicting the world in the Middle East in the name of Islam. Beheadings, burnings, rapes, and the swath of destruction perpetrated against humanity in the name of Allah is a horrible example of the depraved nature of man. Rather than condemning and calling for the annihilation of these zealots of evil, liberal politicians, educators, religious leaders, and the media cultivate a tone of political correctness, but are swift to condemn any who point out the wickedness of this 21st century crusade against humanity.
Psalm 11:6 – “Upon the wicked he shall rain [rain down] snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible [consuming; terrible; raging] tempest [wind; spirit]: this shall be the portion of their cup.”
David reminds the righteous that God is on His throne and the wicked will not escape His wrath. Not unlike the weapons of modern warfare, David describes the terror of God’s judgment raining down upon the wicked who oppose Him and despise the righteous.
Psalm 11:7 – “For the righteous [just; lawful] LORD loveth [has affection for] righteousness [justice; moral virtue]; his countenance [face; presence] doth behold [perceive; contemplate; see] the upright [righteous; straight; just].”
Our devotion ends with the assurance the LORD’s love for the righteous never wanes and His eyes are ever upon those who are moral, just and upright. There are times that flight and retreat from an adversary is prudent; however, too many pulpits in America are filled with preachers who fear to speak the Truth, but cater to the wealthy and powerful in politically correct terms lest they raise the ire of a few. Sadly, the occupants of the pulpit and the pew seem ambivalent to the wickedness that has painted the Middle East in blood and is slowly being assimilated into our schools, communities, churches and government.
Christians in America still have freedom to speak against enemies who wish to drive the Gospel underground and silence any who dare speak the Truth concerning the moral decadence of our nation. Don’t be blind to the reality that liberal media, educators, politicians, and a generation of spiritual rebels who have rejected God (Psalm 14:1, 53:1) are dedicated foes of righteousness and their arrows are drawn to intimidate and silence any who dare speak Truth.
The challenge for believers and the true church is whether or not we will trust the LORD, confident He is Sovereign of creation, and seek our refuge in Him.
Isaiah 40:31 – “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith