For the director of music. Of David.
1 In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain.
2 For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.
3 When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
4 The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them.
5 The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.
6 On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.
7 For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.
As with many of the psalms written by David, we don’t know the circumstances that prompted him to pray these words. In the case of psalm 11 we can assume it was during his flight from Saul or Absalom. Both of those times were dark ones for David and he was most certainly getting “advice” from all sides. Here he speaks to those who would tell him to flee – to run from his enemies as a solution to the problem. But he rejects that notion and instead advises the advisers to flee to God instead.
The pivot point in this psalm seems to be verse 3. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? Such an apt description of how those shaky times feel; like the very foundations upon which you stand are crumbling. We had an amazing example of that with the footage we saw last week from the tragic earthquake in Nepal. The foundations of every building became unsafe and people fled for their lives. Now the safest place to be is out in the open, away from any buildings and even that isn’t totally safe. Their foundations were destroyed. It was difficult to watch. David’s life feels exactly like that as he looks at his enemies and fears for his life. Nothing seems safe anymore.
But he advises his people to look to God. He is the builder of a foundation that cannot be shaken or destroyed.
2 Timothy 2:19
Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
I don’t like it when my situation seems unsure; I don’t like it one little bit. And I confess that I don’t always run immediately into the arms of Jesus. Sometimes I have to swirl for a while and exhaust all of my own resources before I head His way. That’s what David advises and we know that this is what David did in his own life. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t have the feelings of discomfort and fear. You can hear them squeeze through the words of this psalm. He’s not pleased to be under attack. Only a fool would enjoy that. But he knows where to go and his words advise us as well.