Psalm 11. trepidation and steadfastness
This is a psalm of David that comes straight from a crisis. It opens with a spirited retort to some demoralizing advice and goes on to show what is the real scale and pattern of events, and what is more to be prized than safety.
11:1–3. Voices of despair
The plea to get away into hiding is still ringing in David’s ears as he begins his reply, formulated at first in his advisers’ own terms of refuge, the true refuge, however, as against the false. The advice seems well-meant,26 like Peter’s to our Lord in Matthew 16:22 -22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”, though it could indeed be insincere; like how the Pharasiee attempt to warn Jesus in Luke 13:31f-31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.”.
Certainly, it is persuasive, for there is little defence against the assassin (or slanderer?) of verse 2; while the argument of verse 3 is dispiriting, whichever way it is taken: whether it means that in the prevailing anarchy, nothing is worth attempting, or, less probably, that David as the mainstay of his people must save his life at all costs. It is hard to know which are the words of David’s advisers after verse 1, and which, if any, are his own reflections. In either case, they go deep. For an answer, David will look up to the heavens and see the immense realities that overshadow these events.
11:4–7. The forgotten dimension
The feverish scene of verses 1–3 is dwarfed by the Lord, whose name here is emphatic and reiterated. This King is in residence, not in flight: his city ‘has foundations), therefore, the question of verse 3 can be asked without despair, which is repeated in verse 7. The collapse of what is built on sand may be distressing; it can also be a beginning reminded in Heb. 12:27 -27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.
4, 5. The temple (or palace; it is the same word) is not an earthly building, as the second line of verse 4 would have shown, even if Solomon’s Temple had already existed. Quoting the words of 4 at a later time of crisis, Habakkuk 2:20 underlines their awesomeness with its admonition, ‘let all the earth keep silence …’
The repetition of test … tests in 4b, 5a reveals that the initiative is the Lord’s, even before the decisive moment of verse 6. His stillness is not inertia but concentration, and his patience gives opportunity to both righteous and wicked (5) to show what they are made of.
Fire and brimstone are an allusion to Genesis 19:24 – 24 “Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven”, where they were the means of the overthrow of Sodom. So the phrase is significant, for Sodom stands in the Bible as a perpetual reminder of sudden and final judgment. Cf. the teaching of Jesus in Luke 17:28–32 – 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be ion the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. And 2 Peter 2:6–9 – 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,4 and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
The psalm ends, as it began, with the Lord, whose character as righteous answers all the fear and frustration of verse 3. ‘The foundations’ of righteousness are none other than his nature and will: what he is and what he loves in verse 7. And if the first line of the psalm showed where the believer’s safety lies, the last line shows where his heart should be. God as ‘refuge’ may be sought from motives that are all too self-regarding, but to behold his face is a goal in which only love has any interest. The psalmists knew the experience of seeing God with the inward eye in worship; but there is little doubt that they were led to look beyond this to an unmediated vision when they would be ransomed and awakened from death ‘to behold (his) face in righteousness’
My brothers and sisters, where does your heart lie. More importantly, does your heart dictate the mind. If we seek to live within a world without boundaries, what boundaries do you adhere to. Are we dictated by our mind or by our hearts that are grounded in God’s word and his providence? Our minds are thinking machines, forever seeking means and ways to maneuver a broken world. If our hearts are bound within a relationship with God and without our mind, there is a missing route that grounds our mind within a divine stature. No matter what our hearts reveal we succumb to the world. However, if your hearts and link to God and our minds, the influences of the world have no effect on our spiritual fortitude.
If the Word of God spurns our moral and ethical life, then the world has little effect on us. If we are not, then our subjective lifestyles are false and masked illusions of our sinful selves.