Psalm 11: the cup of confidence in the Lord
Psalm 11 For the director of music. Of David. (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 yet filled with power.
In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to my soul, "Flee like a bird to your mountain. Psalm 11:1 ESV
Why did David’s friends fear for his safety and tell him to flee? The word choice suggests that he run fast and hide quickly. And also, not just anyone “speaks to our souls.” Someone close to him was urgently pleading with him to run for his life, and he was tempted to do so.
The Bible teaches us that David spent time, as a young man, 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 from that dangerous and volatile king.
God made it known that David was His chosen king, not Saul (1 Samuel 16). Although David had people that were loyal to him, not all were encouraging of his faith. Sometimes they suggested he run and hide from Saul, when God very clearly told him to stand and be brave.
Sounds similar to 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 form 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’s 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 man.
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 mountains. Psalm 11:1
Are you setting your mind on the things of God or on the tings of man? Who do you seek refuge in- God or the things of man?
If we set our minds 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 of the cross?
The King James version of the Bible translates verse 6 like this:
Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup. Psalm 11:6 KJV
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." Matthew 26:36-42
Was Jesus fearing the pain and suffering that He knew was coming? Was He also fearing His portion of the cup- the wrath of God- being poured out upon Him?
The wrath of God was poured out upon Jesus on the cross. Not because of anything that He did, but because of you and me.
That, my friends, is love.
Do you find yourself lost in worry and fear right now? Do the things of man tempt you to look away from God? In times of trials, the world will tempt us to fall into this trap, to “flee into the mountains.”
But remember David’s words to the director of music,
The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. Psalm 11:4
The Lord is in His church, 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 face anything.
But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. Habakkuk 2:20
As I write this, we are coming upon Holy Week, and 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. He is with the Father right now, interceding for 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 the God, who indeed is interceding for us. Romans 8:34
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. Jude 21
One more beautiful thought- David reminds us at the end of this psalm with similar words found in the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6. The Lord’s promise that we will see His face. We will. But even now, He looks upon us. He sees us. He watches over His children, always.
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. Numbers 6:24-25
Father in heaven, as we walk through trials help us to remember Jesus’s 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 man. 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 over us. Give us strength. Lord, heal our land, protect our loved ones, strengthen your church, and let us lean on you. Amen.