For September 2022, I’m trying to read and reflect – briefly – on a Psalm each day. I’ll read the Psalm, pray, and then ponder a few questions:
- What is this Psalm about?
- What does this Psalm teach about God?
- How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
I’ll close the post with a simple prayer, trying to draw the themes together.
On the eleventh of September, here’s Psalm 11:
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.
What is this Psalm about?
This Psalm is about God, and where true refuge and security can be found. There is a stark contrast between going and hiding in a place that might seem secure – like a mountain – and the true security to be found in refuge in God, ‘who is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face’ (v7). Psalm 11 goes into great detail about God’s ruling justice and what it means for God to be both on his throne and constantly aware of evil.
What does this Psalm teach about God?
Psalm 11 shows us a God we can seek refuge in, a Lord who can be trusted, and a righteous judge who will not evil go ultimately unpunished (v5-6). From his ‘heavenly throne’ in his ‘holy temple’, God sees and observes everything – and, as with the Psalms we’ve seen so far, he is not inactive.
How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
In a time of cultural change – which seems according to some things like every decade since the one before – it can sometimes feel like the foundations are being shaken.The Psalmist asks a question that has the ring of a hundred thousand other questions, ‘when the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?’. The answer is perhaps infuriating – In fact, the answer isn’t an answer, but a truth. The Lord. Reigning. Observing. Examining. Promising judgement and promising that the righteous will see his face. Reassuring, if not what we might expect.
To close, a prayer drawing together the threads of Psalm 11:
Lord, help me to lift my eyes up to your heavenly throne in your holy temple. Help me to see that when I see the foundations crumbling, you are still on the throne, and your are watching. Remind me in moments of fear that I can see your face, because of what you have done. Amen.