Psalm 11: the cup of confidence in the Lord
For the director of music.
(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.
Short and sweet, right? Yet, so wonderfully power.
In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to my soul,
“Flee like a bird to your mountain… (ESV)
Why did David’s friends fear for his safety and suggest he flee? And the wording suggests that he run fast and hide quickly! Not just anyone “speaks to our souls.” Someone close to him was urgently pleading with him to run, for his life, maybe. Someone was tempting David.
The Bible tells us that David spent time in the court of King Saul, his father in law. King Saul knew David was blessed by God, and he was jealous of him. There were times when David was loved and times when he ran for his life.
God made it known that David was His chosen king, not Saul. Although David had people that seemed loyal to him, they were not always encouraging of his faith. Sometimes they suggested he run and hide from Saul, when God very clearly told him to stand and be brave.
This reminds me of a New Testament story.
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Matthew 16: 21-23
Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends during his time on earth. He expected that Jesus would show his strength and blast his enemies before they could hurt him...
For you [Peter] are not setting your mind on the things of God,
but on the things of men.
Similarly, David’s friends were tempting him to run and hide.
In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to the mountain...”
Are you setting your mind on the things of God or on the things of men?
If I am setting my mind on God and all that He is and was and will be, then the fears and the worries of the present melt away.
Or do they?
It seems that David was still afraid, and he may, in fact, have run away to the mountains after all. Was Jesus still afraid?
It’s interesting that the King James version of the Bible translates verse 6 of this psalm like this,
Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup.
The “cup” contains the wrath of God against sin.
In the garden of Gethsemane the night Jesus was betrayed He prayed similar words found in Matthew 26.
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”
Jesus feared not only the pain and suffering that He knew was coming, but He feared His portion of the cup, the wrath of God, being poured out upon Him.
The wrath of God was poured out upon Jesus not because of anything He did but because of you and me.
My friends, THAT is love.
It’s so crazy that it is hard to understand sometimes.
Do you find yourself lost in worry and fear right now? Do the things of men tempt you to look away from God? In times of trials, the world will tempt us to fall into this trap.
But remember David’s words to the Chief Musician,
The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. (v4)
The Lord is in His church, my friends, just as He is on His throne in heaven! Do you believe this? If you do then as long as He is there, you and I can do anything. We can face anything.
But the LORD is in his holy temple;
Let all the earth keep silence before him.
As we come upon Holy Week, let us remember that Jesus is in His Holy Temple. Paul reminds us in Romans that Jesus prays for us from heaven. Jesus intercedes for you and for me with the Father.
They are talking about us!
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Therefore, as we await the healing of our land and ultimately the return of our Lord,
Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
One more beautiful thought, David reminds us at the end of this psalm, with words found in the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6, the great blessing and Lord’s promise that we will see His face.
That He looks upon us, that He sees us.
Know that the Lord’s face is upon you today.
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
The LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Father in heaven, as we walk through this trial help us to remember Jesus’ great sacrifice. He took our portion of the cup; He chose to keep His eyes on the things of God instead of the things of men. Father, may we do the same today. As the world tells us to worry and fear, let us seek You and remember that Your face is turned toward us; that You are watching and seeing us. Give us strength. Lord, heal our land, protect our loved ones, strengthen Your church, and let us lean on You. Amen.