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.
Psalm 11 is a psalm of David. It is given to the director of Music. Many commentaries state that the director of Music could be either God or could be the leader of the choir. This psalm doesn’t allude to any specific event but from the psalm one can know that it is written as David faces Saul who tries to kill him many times.
Matthew Henry in his commentary on this Psalm has outlined the psalm in the following way –
(i) David’s Temptation to flee in fear – Vs. 1-3
(ii) David’s Response to his temptation – Vs. 4
(iii) God’s favor for the righteous and wrath for the wicked – Vs. 5-7
Vs 1, 2, 3
In verses 1-3, David expresses his temptation to flee in fear from his enemies. Verse 1 could be either a voice within him telling him to flee or could be his friends who love him encourage him to flee from the danger. One of the biggest challenges in Christian life is trusting and standing in the place where God has placed a person amidst challenging situations. Verse 1 is the perfect description of a Christian facing a challenge where a voice says, will I be able to trust in God and stand in this position or should I step back into my comfort zone.
Verse 2 paints the picture of the dangerous situation the blameless is facing. He is seeing the string of the bow being bent and the arrow ready to fly from enemies to pierce in to the body and taking his life. In such a situation as this what will be the response of the person of God?
Verse 3 shows that David is almost wanting to flee and sinking in the waters of disbelief. He says when the foundations are being destroyed what can the person of God do? A person who trusts in God would have said when the foundations are being destroyed the person of God will stand for it fighting the wicked. But rather David’s words spreads disbelief.
This can be the situation many of the people of God will experience. In the verge of giving up God sends his spirit and strengthens by his assurance. Verse 3’s tone and verse 4’s tone are completely different. In verse 4 David starts to show faith in God. Rather than looking at himself he is slowly starting to look at God. He thinks of the holy temple and the righteous throne of God. He meditates on the God of judgment who observes and examines the hearts of people on earth.
Vs 5, 6, 7
In verse 5 David speaks of God’s favor over the righteous and God’s passionate hatred to the people who love violences. He is trying to comfort himself and assure himself of God’s faithfulness towards those who are upright in heart. God is someone who never forsakes the righteous. Though most times it looks as if the wicked are winning, but God will definitely remember those who are righteous are will protect them.
In verse 6 he speaks of God’s judgment on the wicked. God is someone who will destroy the wicked mercilessly.
In verse 7 he portrays God as the God of the just and only people who are pure can meet him face to face.
When David says righteous and pure, he doesn’t mean people are sinless. Rather he means that those are the people that try to be faithful to God in repenting and trusting him will all his heart.