To the chief Musician, [A Psalm] of David.
“Psalm 11”: A vision of the Lord on His throne (verse 4), is all the righteous need for security in the face of the threat of the wicked (verse 2).
Verses 1-7: The panic that launched this psalm was not David’s but that of his apparently well-meaning counselors. Their mood is panic, but David’s is peace. In view of David’s attitude, this psalm can be listed with the psalms of confidence (Psalms 4, 16, 23, 27, 62, 125, and 131). Also, the solidarity of the theocratic king and the theocratic people is obvious, as indicated by the shifts back and forth between singular and plural phrasings. The developing verses and lines of this psalm reveal that, although two different “voices” were speaking to David in yet another context of personal and national crisis, he had made up his mind to trust only in the Lord.
(1) Introductory affirmation (11:1a);
(2) The Two Voices;
- The Voice Urging Flight (11:1b-3);
- The Voice Urging Faith (11:4-7).
Psalm 11:1 “In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee [as] a bird to your mountain?”
God is the exclusive refuge for His persecuted children (compare Psalms 16:1; 36:7). As a life principle, David sought refuge from his enemies in the Lord, his stronghold. His counselors urged him to
“Flee as a bird to your mountain”: To run and hide. But he refused, regarding the Lord as a much more secure refuge than any human fortress.
So many times, when we are going through trials, loving friends will tell us to get away from the problem (go to the mountain). I like the answer David gave here. “In the LORD put I my trust”. Sure, we could run to safety, away from the trials of life. But generally speaking, the problem would follow us. Have you ever had the urge to run away and hide? I have. When I prayed, I discovered that God wanted me to put my trust in Him, even in the midst of the storm.
1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
I have said this so many times, but it bears repeating. God did not save Noah from the flood, He saved him in the flood. It rained on Noah too. God made provision for Noah. God will save us in whatever problem we are facing now.
Psalm 11:2 “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.”
Many eminent commentators consider these also as the words of David’s friends, representing to him, as a motive for his flight and the extreme danger he was in. Which they compare to that of a bird when a fowler, having already fixed his eye upon it, had fitted his arrow to the string. And lying close, was taking aim at it, intending to shoot it. Just so, they signified, Saul and his counsellors had laid their plot on suddenly to destroy David.
“That they may privily shoot at the upright in heart”: Such as David, and those that were with him. They were men whose hearts were upright before God, and were of upright conversations before men, and so became the butt of the malice and resentment of wicked men. Against these they formed evil purposes and delivered bitter words, which were like sharp arrows of the mighty. Threatened them with ruin and destruction, and took methods to bring about their designs and make good their words, in the most private and secret manner. Hence some of David’s friends thought it most advisable for him to make his escape.
Look with me at the next Scripture and rejoice that the world hates and persecutes you.
John 15:18 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.”
This is printed in red in my Bible, which means Jesus spoke these very words. Look at one more Scripture with me on this.
John 15:25 “But [this cometh to pass], that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.”
This is what we must be careful of; that they have no cause to hate us. Christian, the world will try to destroy you, because you are not of the world. They hate you, because you remind them that they chose to sin. They did not have to. They hate you because you remind them of their sin.
Psalm 11:3 “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
These are the words of a committed but confused saint. His philosophical problem is, “In view of the crumbling of the theocratic society, what can one righteous person, out of a shrinking remnant, do?”
“Foundations” is a metaphor for the order of society, the established institutions which are the social and civil order of the community (82:5). David’s fainthearted counselors believed the very cornerstones of their nation were in jeopardy, namely, the Mosaic Law and other institutions of the faith. Many people wonder similarly today when cherished values are attacked. But the Lord calls every believer to do what can be done in his or her sphere of influence.
The foundation of society has been almost totally destroyed today. Our ancestors would be hurt deeply, if they could see the terrible things our society calls normal behavior. The United States was founded as a Christian nation to begin with. Today, most just turn their back to the filth on television, movies, books, and even common conversation on the street corner. What can the righteous do? We can raise a standard of righteousness and holiness where we are. Christians, do not participate in any of this. Set a standard for you and your family and live by it, then try to encourage others to live better too. The best thing to do is read your Bible every day, and find out what the will of God is, and then do His will. You may not change the world, but you can change the spot where you live. Refuse to be a part of anything you know is not of God.
Verses 4-6: God sees what happens in the world, and He will act, He will “try” the righteous”, but the “wicked” will be dealt with more severely, through the heaping of “fire and brimstone” upon them (34:15-16; Ezek. 38:22). The statement that God “hateth” such people refers to God’s intense rejection of them rather than an emotion (Mal. 1:2-3).
Psalm 11:4 “The LORD [is] in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne [is] in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.”
“In his holy temple … in heaven”: This emphasizes the transcendent throne room of God, yet God has sovereign sway over all the affairs of earth (compare Hab. 2:20).
“His eyes behold, his eyelids try”: His transcendence previously depicted woes not negate His eminence here presented from the perspective of the divine scrutiny of all men, including the righteous (compare Jer. 6:27-30; 17:10).
The tabernacle in the wilderness was an example of that great tabernacle in heaven. When Stephen was being stoned to death, he looked to the heavens and saw Jesus standing at the right side of the throne of God. John in his Revelation, saw heaven’s door opened. The door of heaven is never closed to the believer in Christ, because Jesus opened that door to the very presence of God, when He gave His body on Calvary. Jesus is our Door to heaven. He is our Way. The LORD’S throne is in heaven. Jesus sits on the right side of the Father even now interceding for you and me. Jesus is our great High Priest. He represents us before the Father. God is not blind, that He cannot see everything we do.
Revelation 1:14 “His head and [his] hairs [were] white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes [were] as a flame of fire;”
This description that we see from Revelation, is speaking of the one you and I know as Jesus our Savior. These eyes that were like flames of fire, mean that He can look into the very heart and soul of man. Fire burns out the evil. As I said before, He sees everything. There is nothing hid from him. Think before you sin next time. Jesus is watching.
Psalm 11:5 “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.”
“His soul hateth”: This is undiluted, perfect retribution.
Christians are righteous, not because we have never sinned, but because we took on the righteousness of the LORD when He took our sin on His body. It is not our righteousness we are clothed with, but the righteousness of Christ. The wicked and those who love violence, have totally rejected the Lord Jesus as their Savior. They are standing before Jesus in their cloak of sin. They are hated of God, because they chose sin over salvation in Jesus Christ.
Psalm 11:6 “Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest: [this shall be] the portion of their cup.”
“He shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and a horrible tempest”: This will be in hell, as Jarchi observes. The allusion is to the Lord’s raining fire and brimstone from heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah, which was an example and emblem of eternal fire (see Gen. 19:24). For the beast and the false prophet, and all the antichristian party, and all wicked men, will have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone. The phrases used express the dreadfulness and horribleness of their punishment. The suddenness, violence, and force, with which it will come; and the rise of it, it will be from heaven. God himself will rain this shower of wrath upon them (Job 20:23). Nor will there be any escaping it, it will be inevitable. Therefore “snares” are said to be “rained”; and the wicked will be snared in the works of their own hands. They will be taken and held in the cords of their own sins. And full and deserved punishment will be inflicted on them, which will be very severe and terrible. All that is dreadful in a storm is here expressed, even in a storm of fire. The word rendered “snares” is by some thought to be the same with “burning coals”; and may signify burning stones, hot thunderbolts (see Psalm 18:13).
“This shall be the portion of their cup”: Which will be measured out to them in proportion to their sins. And which God, in righteous judgment, has appointed for them. And which they shall all drink of, and wring out the very dregs of it.
This to me, is speaking of the terrible time when the wrath of God is poured out upon the earth. God has given them ample time to repent and they have not. The generation spoken of here, has totally rejected God. You may read about these terrible plagues, earthquakes, and many more terrors that come in the study on Revelation. The one thing that we must remember is, these people brought this upon themselves. I will share just one Scripture from the book of Revelation pertaining to this.
Revelation 14:10 “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:”
Psalm 11:7 “For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.”
“For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness”: He loves righteousness. He Himself is the perfect norm or standard for all spiritual integrity.
“His countenance” (compare Psalms 17:15; 27:4; 63:2; 1 John 3:2).
We are told, to “be ye holy for I am holy”, by Almighty God. Righteousness in Christ just means that we have taken on right standing in Christ. Abraham had faith, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. The Christian has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is counted unto the Christian as righteousness. We are clothed in His righteousness when our garment has been washed in the blood of the Lamb. God loves those who are in right standing with Him through Jesus Christ the Lord.
Psalm 11 Questions
- Whose Psalm is this?
- Who was this Psalm addressed to?
- In the _______ put I my trust.
- What do loving friends tell us to do many times, when we are going through a trial?
- Should we take their advice?
- God did not save Noah _______ the flood, but ___ the flood.
- Why should we rejoice that the world hates and persecutes us?
- They hated Jesus __________ a _________.
- What has happened to the foundation of our society?
- What is some of the filth that most people just ignore now?
- What can a Christian do?
- You may not change the world, but you can change what?
- What was the tabernacle in the wilderness an example of?
- Who, while being stoned to death, looked into heaven and saw Jesus standing at the right side of the throne of God?
- Who else in the Bible saw the heavens opened?
- How was heaven opened for the Christian?
- What is Jesus doing for you and me in heaven now?
- What were the eyes of Jesus like from Revelation 1:14?
- What does this description of His eyes mean?
- In verse 5, we find that The LORD trieth whom?
- What makes the Christian righteous?
- What is meant, when we say we are righteous?
- Upon the wicked He shall rain what?
- Where can you read of the terrible things that are to come on the earth?
- The righteous LORD loveth ________________.
- What made Abraham righteous in God’s sight?