Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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Psalms Saturday #11 – The LORD Is in His Holy Temple – Psalms 11


Psalms Saturday #11 – The LORD Is in His Holy Temple – Psalms 11 – 03/26/2016

To the choirmaster. Of David.
Psalm 11:1 (ESV) In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, 2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” 4 The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. 5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. 6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face

This Psalm is awesome in its praise and thanksgiving to the LORD. I love this because it gives great examples of praise and thanksgiving despite the obvious peril and danger in Davids circumstances and my hope is that you please enjoy this great Psalm of praise, although it is just five verses it is rich in teaching and encouraging moments. I aim to look it all five verses on a verse by verse basis beginning in verse one.

V1 In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,

Royal fugitive

Have you ever been in bother, on the run? David prior to becoming king was on the run from the existing king Saul. He was consistently hunted; he was a fugitive from royal law and at this part of his life was literally scampering for his life. His advice from those close to him we read in the text is to “flee like a bird to your mountain” But David shows great faith in God. He states confidently and profoundly “in the LORD I take refuge” He knew where to put his trust! This poses a question in my heart to you dear readers in that who do you have your trust in? Is it man with his ideas that will fail despite the good intentions or is it God who knows the “master plan”? David mocks this idea and states confidently “In the LORD I take refuge” (or have my trust) He was not going to rely on his own fears but take solace and refuge that God has this.

True mark of a man of faith

That is a true mark of a man of faith! He would rather face the oncoming danger with the LORD at his back than do it without the LORD and do what seemed like the obvious solution, to tuck tail and run and save his own skin. David knew (a man after Gods own heart remember) that the advice, although given in love and quite possibly with the best possible intentions, it was not the path that he would chose to follow.

Good heart – bad advice

V2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Verses 2 & 3 show the advice given by his friends, like I had said earlier, the advice may be well intentioned but if it is not within Gods plan for your life then it is bad advice. God had already promised the throne to David, Samuel had anointed him and David knew his purpose was to be a mighty king. He also saw the hardness of Saul’s heart and learned from the mistakes of others. Yes there was a real and present danger but for me the overriding faith in God, in his provision and He is the one that David puts his faith and security in because of the earlier prophesy that he would be King tells you a lot about the heart of David, yes he made mistakes but this is what he was made of. When a man is threatened with the loss of what he holds dearest you will soon see what his priorities are.

David’s friends really play on his fears, they have tried to get him scared of the dangers he can see as well as the dangers he cannot. Perhaps there was a little piece of self-preservation, perhaps they wanted to manage a situation to have him removed from danger, whatever the cause was if you are walking in fear and not trusting in God then you will not step out in faith when God calls you.

The Foundations are destroyed

We read this when they state “if the foundations are destroyed” Saul was the first and only king that Israel had had up to that point and he ruined the throne at the first attempt right down to its foundation. His friends were also questioning why a righteous man would take such a poisoned chalice.

What can David do? Actually quite a lot if he has God on his side, as bad as Saul was for the throne David could bring a nation back into revival. Never shirk from a task you are called to just because it seems too big! Is there a task that is too big for your God? My God is not that small. Circumstances are just that, it is only a short sighted view of the present and I serve a God that can change things in the blink of an eye.

Seen versus Unseen

Can you imagine the internal turmoil he must have been going through? Balancing the advice of the seen against the faith of the unseen. He had unshakable faith at this point of his life and we can learn a lot from him in relation to how deeply we cling to a steadfast faith in the LORD. He is in the gravest of circumstances and still clings to the promises of the LORD knowing that his will is best for him.

V4 The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. 5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence

God got this!

David knew he was going to be looked after by God; he describes the heavenly situation with the calmness of a man not in danger. He describes what the LORD sees in verse 4. Its very much like the Facebook graphic I saw earlier this week that describes this well “God is like Oxygen, you can’t see him, but once you have him, you can’t live without him” Very profound in my opinion.

The LORD’s throne is in heaven, his ways are way above our ways and he gets the grandstand view of our lives while we are in the thick of the action (to use a rugby analogy) this answer that the LORD’s throne is in heaven is David’s answer to the question “What can you do?” David defers to the one he has unshakable faith in. He speaks only in terms of what he is absolute in.

He uses the following examples of how the LORD has this…

  • His eyes see – Even if you don’t think so, God sees, God is watching out and God cares, this is why David is concerned with more than just saving his own skin, he is looking at a bigger picture because of the faith that he has that God is truth and keeps his promises.
  • His eyelids test the children of man – In keeping with that faith that the LORD is in the driving seat, he states that tests will come, that we should be like James tells us “counting it all joy when we are in the midst of trials”
  • The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence – God isn’t just watching, he is patient and will eventually right the wrongs. He does care and David uses his situation as a teaching moment and states that God sees the violence that is before me and he will deliver me because of the promises he has made me.

God v man and why they are different

V6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face

Verses 6-7 really are self-explanatory, David answers the foundations question by stating that the LORD sees, will test and he doesn’t like what he sees. The LORD will deal with it in his time. This is a timely reminder to us all, one of the most frustrating parts as a Christian is wanting God to work on my time as opposed to his perfect timing.

The LORD will deliver justice, but David elects to stay on the side of justice and stay on the LORDs side. David knows that if he stays the course and follows God’s will he will get rewarded by getting what he is promised. I know Christians that are frustrated because they believe they are “entitled” when they do not go all in with God. God will reward righteousness more than he will reward rebellion.

This is the test of faith, not trying to “help God along” or not submitting to God’s timing in a potentially damaging situation. From David’s perspective there was only one course of action and to trust God because of all that he had been promised and the afore knowledge that God does not lie. His answer of faith should be an example to us all who will try to manipulate situations to achieve God’s will when God had a much better plan for our lives.

Often times we have to learn patience and sometimes we just have to slow down to match God’s pace. But most of all if we are in trials or don’t understand we have to seek God diligently and have the faith that David does, then we will not fear. Whatever out trials are, God has this!

Lord willing, in our next article in Psalms we look Psalm 125 which speaks of trusting in the LORD, the LORDs faithfulness and the importance of righteousness, all in all a terrific Psalm and I hope that you don’t miss it. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.

Deal with the soul first and then the sin


Tale of two viral blog articles

In the last few weeks I have had two articles that have went “viral” (by my standards) which have addressed two issues that the Internet were talking about. I am of course talking about commentary on the situations with Josh Duggar and the accusations of molestation and also the Vanity Fair cover that displayed and introduced Bruce Jenner as Caitlyn.

I have appealed in both of these articles that we pray for these people and I would go further and state that we should pray without ceasing. Josh Duggar, his sisters and his other victims all required prayer and I do wonder whether this public shaming of Josh does not victimize the victims as much as the perpetrator. Some are doing it out of compassion for the family, some are really doing it because they hate Christians and want to see the show off the air and there are some are doing it just to gossip and slander.

Josh Duggar has had less “abuse” from the Christian circles and I believe that generally there was a good feeling towards the family prior to this news being broken because of the show and the fact that Josh is now a born again Christian make him less of “fair game” in the eyes of the Christian bloggers but the same cannot be said of Bruce Jenner.

In Bruce’s case it is open season on him from the Christian point of view and many are judging him as if he is a brother in Christ, he may very well be but his actions recently suggest otherwise. My earlier blog about his situation I spoke about the need to deal with the soul first and that is my priority for Bruce or anyone who is still in their sin. They need to come face to face with their messiah, repent of their sins, then and only then can we look at the sideshow of what their lives are like.

Keep the main thing the main thing

We have to remember as Christians to keep the main thing the main thing! We are here primarily to “Go forth and make disciples” and in that commission we are not to be shy, we are to be bold in our proclamation that Jesus is the messiah and that the words in John 14:6 are true that only Jesus is the way, only Jesus is the truth and only Jesus is the life and that no-one came to the father except through him.

Closer to Jesus or further away?

We have to examine our conduct and ask if what we are doing (especially online) is bringing people closer to Jesus or further away to Jesus. Are we serving the LORD with our words or ourselves? It says in the book of Jude that we have to have wisdom and “have compassion on some” but also have discernment to “save others with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” and we have to be discerning on how we evangelize and present the gospel. 

Read the article before you comment

For this purpose I am saddened when I read people who comment on social media, not appearing to have read the article and commenting things that border on hate, they fail to grasp that he is in the world and of the world, the world by in large has been accepting of his procedure and call him words such as “brave” and “courageous” and Christians fall into the trap of appearing to have the moral high ground when all the world wants to see if the Christian condemning the sinner so they can report that the Christian behaved the way that they thought they would.

Prayer comes first

We need to pray for this and other situations because these two situations come on our media screens, social media newsfeeds and news reports because these people are “famous”. We live in a world that is fallen, the sin upon sin upon sin upon sin that has been the case since the Garden of Eden has allowed us to distance ourselves that far away from God that we are completely alien to the purpose of why we were created and that was to glorify God.

Bruce won’t find peace in his surgery, in the change he has made and the pharmaceuticals that he has consigned himself to take. He will only find peace through Jesus and I pray that he will fall to his knees, repent and follow the one true messiah, I pray that for the whole family, I pray that for the whole Hollywood circus, I pray that for the whole of the USA and lastly I pray for the world to come to repentance in Christ Jesus.

Pray not Pharisee

We need to be more like Jesus and less like the guys who wanted to condemn and kill him! It is easy to get lost in our Religious-ity and that in our mind look for the “right answer” or the “holy answer” but we are called to love first, evangelize unto repentance and then make disciples and allow them to repeat the process.

As stated a few days ago in a previous article that we need to make prayer the first priority, it is the most dynamic weapon in our arsenal and often times it is the one that is least used. It is amazing how much your countenance changes towards a person when you are genuinely praying for God’s blessings, praying because they hate you, (that is the toughest one) praying that they repent or praying for their walk with Jesus. We are to be recognized as Jesus disciples because of our “love for one another”.

I am not saying don’t deal with sin in the brethren

If a brother is in sin then respectfully deal with it as you would in Matthew 18, but we love to “name and shame” in our culture as if by tearing someone down we somehow raise in righteousness, I see this in churches where brothers become “ministry rivals” and friendships are scorched due to ambition coming before serving. 

We have to check our motivation why we do these things. I was once asked by a pastor “What was your motivation for …” and when I answered it allowed him to tailor his advice to the situation, in many cases when gossip occurs we have to ask whether we are fanning the flames or putting out the fire. Often times we can make it worse when we pass on a “95% true statement”.

There is a lot to read here and I apologize, should I have not covered anything, if there are any questions or anything that you feel should be added or you simply wish to have your voice heard then please comment below. If you liked this article and you wished to know when new articles are posted then please either “follow this blog” at the top right hand corner of the screen, like our social media pages or bookmark this site in order to find us again. Lastly I would appreciate if you would please share or like as God leads you to on any social media sites or blogs you use.