Psalms 1 - 50by Mike Raiter
If your life is in danger because of your faithfulness to God, when do you stay and when do you go? When the apostle Paul faced danger, he sometimes fled (e.g. Acts 17:10); at other times he chose to stay and face the suffering (e.g. Acts 21:10-14). Deciding when to stay and when to flee requires wisdom. For the apostle Paul, it was often a matter of discerning which course of action was more strategic for the spread of the gospel. For David, it was a question of expressing his confidence in the power and protection of God.
In Psalm 10, David described the contempt that the wicked have for God, and then expressed his confidence that the Lord would protect him from the attacks of such people. Now, in Psalm 11, David tells us again why he has such faith in God.
The psalm begins with David rejecting advice to run away from an enemy. We don't know the particular event, except that once again David's life is in danger. He's told to run and hide because the situation is helpless (Psalm 11:1). David is even warned that once such enemies set out to harm you, ″what can the righteous do?″ (v. 3). Of course, there were times when wisdom dictated that David should run away (e.g. 1 Samuel 20, 2 Samuel 15), but not because he'd lost faith in God's power and love. In this case, however, the advice David's been given simply expresses no faith in the sovereign God, and he is right to reject it.
In the second half of the psalm, David sings of God's power to protect His people. Since God sits on a heavenly throne (Psalm 11:4), He observes everything that happens. People may think that David is in mortal danger, but the reality is that his enemies-who are also God's enemies-are in even greater danger. It is terrifying to face the wrath of God (v. 6).
David observes that God hates the wicked with a passion (v. 5). But, you might wonder, doesn't God love everyone? Yes, He does, and His arms are always open, inviting sinners to turn to Him (see 4:4-5). But those who persist in evil remain under His terrifying wrath (11:5-6).
Let's be encouraged today that the Lord's watchful eyes are upon us, and that He will bring justice at the right time.
How can we discern when might be the right time to flee suffering and persecution, and when to stay and face it?
Read John 15:18: ″If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.″ Why does Jesus draw such a close connection between how people treat His disciples and how they treat Him? How should we respond to this truth?