For the director of music. Of David.
In the Lord I take refuge.
How then can you say to me:
‘Flee like a bird to your mountain.
For look, the wicked bend their bows;
they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows
at the upright in heart.
When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?’
The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
his eyes examine them.
The Lord examines the righteous,
but the wicked, those who love violence,
he hates with a passion.
On the wicked he will rain
fiery coals and burning sulphur;
a scorching wind will be their lot.
For the Lord is righteous,(Ps. 11:1-7 NIV)
he loves justice;
the upright will see his face.
The Psalmist has taken refuge in the covenant LORD in the face of trouble. Either a well-meaning friend, or his own internal voice of fear, provides the advice to fly away. ‘But how can this be good advice because I have taken refuge in the LORD how could you advise me to fly away to the safety of a mountain?’ There is no safer place than under the wings of the covenant LORD. The temptation to fly away is because you can see that the enemies have bent the bows to shoot out of the shadows at the people of God. The enemies shoot out of the dark because it is an underhand, spiteful attack. In v3 the Psalmist feels that the very foundations are being destroyed and that the people of God are powerless to do anything about it. This well describes life in the UK in the 21st century. The foundations that were laid by generations of Christians are being destroyed by new laws, by the prohibition of any counter-narrative to projected public opinion. What is the answer to this feeling of despair? The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD is on his heavenly throne – that is the answer. The burden of our times is carried by the LORD. The Psalmist expresses his confidence. This confidence has one ultimate source, that is the reassurance that no matter what is happening, the LORD is on his heavenly throne. At this time of pandemic, we have concerns about getting the virus, concerns about future employment, financial concerns, perhaps not coping well with being isolated from friends and family. Because of our age, or our underlying health issues, we may feel particularly vulnerable. The ultimate source of our hope in all circumstances is that the Lord our God is still upon his heavenly throne. From the throne God sees every single person upon the earth. Not only does God see everyone, He examines everyone. The enemies who lurked in the shadows are not hidden from His sight. God is present in His holy temple – that is to assure us that God is with his people. God is on his heavenly throne, that is to assure us that God is transcendent, far above all enemies, supremely powerful as He reigns from on high. The LORD examines the righteous and those who love violence. A day of account will come when all must stand before God and meet their Maker. The examination of the wicked will be with fire. The fiery coals, burning sulphur and scorching wind are all symbols of judgement making clear that that judgement will penetrate to reveal the truth. The LORD is long suffering, pausing to give the wicked time to repent
By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.(2 Pet. 3:7-10 NIV)
The LORD is righteous and He will turn His face towards His people and they will see His face and be saved.
LORD at times we face the temptation to run away or fly away from the face of difficult circumstance. Help us to have confidence in You and realise that You are the King of kings reigning from Your heavenly throne. ‘Before the throne of God above I have a strong and perfect plea, a great High Priest whose name is love, who ever lives and pleads for me’. Keep us in Your love as we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen