From Chuck Lane
Questions for The Book of Psalms
Calvary Christian Fellowship
Questions (w/ some answers) for Psalm 11
1. Who is the Psalmist?
- A Psalm of David. To the chief Musician. A very general reflection of trials and persecution from the time when -- “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying let us break their bands (e.g.,.marriage “bands”) asunder, and cast away their cords (i.e., Ten Commandments) from us” Psalm 2:2-3 -- to the time of the annointed’s return following the tribulation. There is, however, according to McGee and J. Stewart Perowne, evidence that the circumstances of David’s Psalm 11 have to do with his flight from Absalom away from Jerusalem, The City of David, Zion.
2. Who is/are the speaker(s)?
- David, King of Israel, inspired by the Holy Spirit.
3. Who is the audience?
- The faithful, who rely on the LORD and His Word in all things at all times, including times of persecution; as well as admonition against the wickedness of the wicked. There is sin in the world, and sin has consequence.
4. List those described in the Psalm? How are they described (adjectives used, actions given, consequences prescribed)? Examples from the Bible? Do you know people like this?
1 In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?
- How often are we told today by those would be counselors and advisors that we need boundaries, that we must walk away from our problems, escaping the pain and misfortune, expecting to find something else, filling the void left with unrealized dreams, and finding ourselves worse for wear. One such counselor, however, from modern times, Fritz Perls, co-founder of the Esalen Institute near Big Sur in California (1960’s), where principles of Gestalt (holistic health care) were practiced and refined . . . It was Fritz Perls who warned that it is “unfinished business” which interferes with our ability to live full and complete lives. At any rate, problems are never solved by turning your back on them, be they emotional or physical / cognitive or affective. (Did I ever tell you that most all the “truths” that one might find in the pseudo-science of Psychology can be found on the pages of The Bible?) Certainly, as David implies in his opening, prayer and waiting on the LORD are crucial “time-outs” for us to take, trusting that He is with us always so that the “mountain” he chooses to flee to is not one of his own making (idolatry from which we should all flee), but rather the domain from which we all spring: 1 Corinthians 10:13-14.
- Those who counseled David to run away feared for his life because Absalom was trying to kill him:
2 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.
- To be sure there was grave bitterness in both camps, but David did not leave the land in exile; rather he pulled back, regrouped and waited on the LORD to show His will. Up to a point. We must remember David’s command that Absalom, his son, not be harmed. But it was Absalom who ultimately brought harm upon himself. And it broke David’s heart, from which he never recovered, for Absalom was his favored son to sit on his throne, even more so than Solomon, which may be a reason for David’s delay in fulfilling his promise to crown Solomon his successor, leading to Adonijah’s attempt to usurp the throne for himself.
- But I digress. When Absalom rebelled and David left Jerusalem, law and order as Israel had come to know was vanquished as well. It was through worldly counsel that prophecy was fulfilled and sin came to reign: 2 Samuel 16:20-23
3 If the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
- Prophecy is fulfilled and sin prevails today – and will be in the future, just as during David’s time and before – from the likes of apostate counselors challenging the Word of God, even from the pulpit. “What can the righteous do?” is a question no less relevant for us today than it was for David in the circumstances he found himself in.
- But the Psalmist has the answer:
4 The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.
- There was yet to be a temple in Jerusalem. There was an open tent where the Ark was housed and worship was commenced outside the walls of David’s city each and every Sabbath in the saddle before the rise to the top of the hill of Moriah Genesis 22:1-19 , where David would purchase the threshing floor of Ornan 1 Chronicles 21 , and where Solomon would have the built. But even as today when Christians understand that the “church,” the “body” and “bride” of Christ, is not found in a manmade building, but outside the camp where the sin offering is taken to be burnt, Leviticus 4:3 -- where we are to be the witness of His love through His grace of salvation from that sin, desiring to live to be pleasing to Him -- David understood that it is about a real relationship with a real Yaweh (not idols made by human hands) . . . our Father who exercises perfectly the nine fruits of the spirit, including long-suffering (patience) especially for His children whom He loves, though His love alone will not force them to be saved.
- Not all choose to be saved. They belong to that great world-wide movement against “the LORD and His anointed.” They are the scornful (atheists) from Psalm 1, et. al., whom not only deny God but hate Him and are antagonistic towards His Word. Even though we are told to love the sinner, but hate the sin, when it comes to the harm sinners due to others, as painful as it is the Father, they must be allowed to receive their just reward. (Think David, and his love for his son Absalom, and his trouble and the pain . . . and . . .)
5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
- And even though the Lord Jesus Christ tells us: Matthew 7:13-14, Peter reveals His heart, His desire: 2 Peter 3:9 .
And be not fooled (or don’t be a fool) for He knows your heart: https://everydayservant.com/top-39-bible-verses-what-god-sees-in-our-hearts/
- And, once again, we are informed of His holiness. He is a God of Love, but also a God of judgment.
6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup
- The Bible may not tell us everything we may want to know, but it tells more than we think it does. And we should not be surprised when what happens to us is what God told us would happen to us. In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ tells us Matthew 5:44-45. This is a hard standard, especially when we know that it is the scornful who will be bringing it down on us all. And it will be A Hard Rains a Gonna Fall.
- But take solace from the Psalmist, brother and sister, for he writes:
7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.
- The LORD loves righteousness. And when we put on the righteous covering of Christ our Savior, it is all that He sees. In times of trouble when “the foundations be destroyed” the righteous look up, from earth to heaven, and like purified silver in the crucible the upright will behold the Refiners face beholding what He has made of us, seeing His own reflection. (When silver has been purged, refined of all impurity through fire, the liquid at the surface becomes a perfect mirror and the Refiner who sits watching then knows his work is done, for he sees his reflection perfectly.) It is a wonderful picture: 1 John 3:2-3
5. What do you think the speaker is feeling and how do you relate?
6. How is this Psalm quoted in the New Testament? http://www.jesuswalk.com/psalms/psalms-NT-quotations.htm
7. What other scriptures are brought to mind through the content, and how might that enlighten or expand the subject of the Psalm. (Column notes, chain references, commentaries, etc.?).