In the LORD I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
“Flee like a bird to your mountain,
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;
if the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”
The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD’s throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The LORD tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the LORD is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face. – Psalm 11:1-7
Allen P. Ross writes:
The central message of this psalm could be worded this way: Faced with the breakdown of law and order with attacks from the wicked, the righteous must stand firm in their faith in the sovereign God who reigns and judges from above. The psalm describes anarchy, wickedness in high places, and attacks on the righteous in this description of godless society. It is not all bleak; the righteous know that God is sovereign, that he loves the righteous, and that he will eventually set things right. God reigns from heaven; it is his kingdom. He may allow evil to exist for a short while, but in the end, he will destroy it.
But in the meantime, the wicked have to be endured. There are times when one is tempted to flee, but if that is done out of fear and not by faith, it is wrong. The believer must live by faith and that includes knowing when to leave and when to stay. By staying one can champion righteousness in the midst of corrupt society, even though there will be malicious attacks and persecution. The believer must not give in to a corrupt environment, and if by remaining faithful the believer suffers for it, at least the suffering will be for righteousness sake.
If believers are absolutely convinced that the sovereign God reigns from heaven and that some day he will destroy the wicked, then they may be courageous in the face of antagonists. Jesus warns his disciples that he is sending them as sheep among wolves, but he tells them that they should stand firm in the faith and not fear those who only have power over the body, but fear the LORD who has power over body and soul. The servants of the LORD faced with such life-threatening opposition must respond with faith, faith that the LORD is ruling over the affairs of humans and will provide wisdom to decide what is the best way to respond in any given situation. For example, the apostle Paul endures much suffering in his serve of the LORD as he stands up for the faith, but for the sake of continued service he also finds it wise to escape over the wall in a basket (see 2 Cor. 11:24-33).
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 100
Q. 100. What doth the preface of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The preface of the Lord’s prayer, which is, Our Father which art in heaven, teacheth us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father able and ready to help us; and that we should pray with and for others.