Monday, June 3, 2013

Psalm 11

Today's scripture is Psalm 11. Go here to read it in your preferred version.

In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?
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.
If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.
The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.
For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.

Actions of God:
He watches over us here on earth (v. 4), He tests us and abhors those who are not saved (v. 5), He will bring judgment on those who do not choose salvation (v. 6), He loves righteousness and those who live righteously (v. 7)

Commands to me:
Trust in God and live righteously

Characteristics of God:
He reigns in His temple, His throne is in heaven, He hates the wicked and loves the righteous

In God we must put our trust and our hope. Many other psalms speak of people who rely on worldly things or people to give them hope. Those things will always fail you. God is the only one who we can put hope in and know that He will never let us down. The words that David writes here - "Flee as a bird to your mountain" make me curious as to who was saying this. Did he write this as he was fleeing for his life (which time??) or was he being persecuted for his faith? Were his friends telling him to run away from his problems? Were his enemies saying this to him as sarcasm? Saying, "Run to your faith, see if that helps!" sarcastically. I can see David shaking his head, saying, "How can you tell me to run? I'm putting my whole trust in God." We must look to this scripture when we are in similar situations.

In verse 2 we see how we must be ready to defend our faith because people are always going to attack us for it. David knew that arrows/words/actions are going to be shot at us if we stand up for our faith. People may attack us silently and no one else may ever know the attack we're going through. But we can turn to God in these times. Unbelievable how many times David speaks of these attacks in the psalms. David knows if the wicked can just make someone question their faith... persuade them their faith is wrong, or a joke, then you ruin them and you break their hearts. If you don't have God to go to, or that faith foundation to stand on, what do you have? What future are you hoping for?

God is in His holy temple. Even when we feel that He is gone or left us, He hasn't. We can always direct our prayers directly to heaven. And remember, He isn't just in heaven, He is on the throne above all in heaven. We are sometimes discouraged by how things go in our life or on this earth, but He is still reigning, no matter what happens. And God does know everyone's true character. We know what people seem to be but God knows their hearts. We have to take heart that God's judgment will be totally just, even when we are deceived by people or think they are getting away with hurting others or deceiving others. If we go through trials, we can't let it discourage us or take away our hope or trust in God. 

It's not popular to say that God hates the wicked, but it is plainly stated here in verse 5. Although I think many of us would be quick to say that we hate violence and those who love violence. It angers us as humans, why wouldn't it anger God who created all of us? Think of how angry you would be if someone committed a violent act against your child, or even another family member. God feels like that with every act of violence, because He literally created the victim. The other reason I believe He gets angry is on the other side... He created the person who committed the violent act. How would you feel if your child committed a violent act to someone else? I think although you would still love them (they are your child, after all), you would be confused, hurt, and angered at them. (A great book to read about this is called "When I Lay My Isaac Down" about a woman whose son commits murder even though the entire family are committed Christians. It talks about her journey in dealing with this.) Anyway, my point is that God of course gets angry and hates these situations. I would say He is completely right in this, and would be odd for Him not to have these feelings. And yes, they will reap the consequences of their actions. Perhaps not where we can see them, perhaps not even in their earthly lifetime. But God is perfectly just and He will handle their consequences.

God loves the righteous. He looks graciously upon the righteous. He puts gladness in the hearts of the righteous. We can be encouraged to walk in God's ways continuously.

Thoughts or comments on this scripture?

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