Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 29th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 11

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-7

  1. Intro:
    1. What is to be prized more than safety? How do you handle demoralizing advice? What is the best way to combat fear? What do you first do when you’re tempted to run away? What is the assassin of faith?
    1. ​​​​​​​FLEE (2)
    2. Apparently David was in a desperate situation with his life in danger.
      1. The temptation to run from danger challenged David’s confidence in God.
        1. Ever feel like running/quitting? All of us have.
      2. Why didn’t David follow the advice of friends?
        1. Maybe your mountain...implies, we all have a place we like fleeing to? We all do it :(
      3. This is the same counsel Peter gave Jesus after hearing about the cross, not so Lord, this shall not happen to you.
    3. What is to be prized more than safety? Well, your confidence in your God.
    4. Isn’t safety overrated? When we talk about safety let’s be clear, there are 2 different ways of being safe: The world’s way & God’s way.
      1. The world’s way: you be safe David. Run away. Hide from your enemy. Cover up your problems.
      2. God’s way: be safe in God. Trust in Him. Even in troubling environments/situations.
        1. Ps.4:8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
        2. Mark 8:35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. [should David/you save your life at all costs?]
        3. Luke 14:33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
      3. Better to give than receive - is risky, not safe to give away your funds (your security).
      4. Opening up with one of your friends is risky/not safe. It makes you vulnerable (can you trust them?). It’s dangerous (will they think you are less spiritual?)
    5. What I’m not saying: no, we are not supposed to put ourselves in harms way (Jesus/jump frm temple).
    6. What are you being challenged to flee from?
      1. For some it is environmental (fleeing a job, a career, a neighborhood).
      2. For others, relational (fleeing a friend, a boyfriend/girlfriend, a neighbor, a prayer mtg)
      3. Still others, financial (fleeing tithing, being generous, opportunities to help others) All because you can’t trust God in that area of your life?
    7. FOUNDATIONS (3)
    8. If the foundation are destroyed, what can the righteous do? - Are we fighting a losing battle? A lost cause?
      1. If the moral or theological foundations of society are crumbling under the evils of wicked men, aren’t we helpless? [I was amazed what I heard from many conservatives, after Obama won his 2nd term...“what now” “we’re doomed” “it’s over” mentality]
      2. David was a man with a deep sense of responsibility for his community & an unshakable faith in God.
      3. What can the righteous do when the foundations are destroyed? BUILD AGAIN!
        1. ​​​​​​​During Israel’s “second Exodus” (from Babylon) Zerubbabel returns to Jerusalem & finds the foundation of the temple in ruins...what did he do? He built again!
        2. So, if the foundations are destroyed, lay the foundations again, like Zerubbabel. It may be what each new generation will have to do?
    9. Now we’ll go back to the answer he already tipped us off to in vs.1.
    10. FAITH (1)
    11. Their view was experiential and earthward. David’s view was higher.
    12. What gave him the confidence to stand in vs.1? In the Lord I put my trust.
      1. ​​​​​​​Run for the hills David! Why run? The Lord is in control :)
      2. So, in spite of danger to himself, in spite of the advice of friends, in spite of the seemingly hopelessness of his cause...David affirms his stedfast trust in God.
    13. So, vs.1 started out with a statement of Faith...also found in other Psalms (7,16,31,57,71)
    14. So, Fleeing to what is comfortable, Fleeing to what is worldly-safe, or Fleeing to what is only for your self-focused safety...is the Assassin of Faith.
    15. That is Faith against Fear!
    1. ​​​​​​​(4,5a) The fainthearted advised David to flee like a bird to a mountain where he would be safe. But instead he fled to the Lord for safety.
    2. Instead of flying away like a frightened bird, how about trusting God & mounting up with wings as eagles?
    3. David contrasted the problem on earth with the exalted position of the Lord in heaven.
    4. Concentration upon evil has led his friends to despair, but the psalmist’s faith in God is the basis of a true optimism.
    5. David shows his faith & focus is on the Lord. Or we can say it’s his faith in focus
    6. Temple & Throne - Temple represents Gods presence amongst His people. Throne in heaven represents God’s universal sovereignty.
      1. Throne also reminds us that God doesn’t just dwell there, but He reigns there.
        1. Remember the King is in residence, not in flight.
        2. When you feel like running or flying away...remember God’s throne is secure. Isaiah looked up & saw the Lord on His throne, high & lifted up. John in his Rev saw the Lord on His throne & it gave him new courage.
    7. Eyes & Eyelids - Eyelids normally contract when examining closely (squint).
      1. This bold anthropomorphism stresses the precise omniscience of God.
    8. Remember the formula: When tempted by the enemy, Flee! When tested by God, Stand!
      1. ​​​​​​​Can you give an example of each? (Joseph frm Potiphar’s wife/Jesus in wilderness)
      2. Flee temptation, but not from duty.
    9. (5b,6) As a Refiner, God tests the righteous (gold) & discards the wicked (dross).
    10. Tests - The lapidary does not waste his time in cutting common pebbles.
      1. ​​​​​​​Lapidary (one who cuts, polishes, & engraves gems)
    11. (7) The 1st line showed where our safety lies; the last line where our heart should be.
      1. The psalmist knew the experience of seeing God w/the inward eye in worship.
    12. When you feel like quitting or running away, remember that you can’t run away from your troubles & you can’t run away from yourself
      1. The solution is not running away but running to.
    13. What is to be prized more than safety? (Being in God’s will)
    14. How do you handle demoralizing advice? (Look up & see the Lord)
    15. What is the best way to combat fear? (faith)
    16. What do you first do when you’re tempted to run away? (stand)
    17. What is the assassin of faith? (fleeing, taking the easy way out, for you!)
    18. Prayer: Lord help us to not flee to our mountain but flee to Your throne of grace.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Psalms 11". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/psalms-11.html. 2017.
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