In the Lord I take refuge. How can you say to be flee like a bird to the mountains. For look the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? -Psalm 11-
This Psalm found equally by titled What can the righteous do? Or Panic and Stability. This psalm contains faiths response to fears counsel. The Psalmist is in danger from the wicked, who are bending their bows and shooting at him, and either his friends or his enemies are advising him to hide in the mountains.
Psalm 11:1. “How can you say to my soul, flee as a bird to the mountains.” This could have been advice David was hearing from his enemies or even more dangerous, well-meaning but erroneous advice from his friends, like Peter’s advice to Jesus in Matthew 16:22. “The plea to get away into hiding.”
One can understand why advisors might give David this advice, that is the mainstay of the people, the one man supposedly holding the nation together, his life must be saved at all cost.
Psalm 11:2. “To shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.” An ambush is being set. Known enemies can be dealt with; it is the unknown who are so intimidating.” The longing for flight may come from fear. He is faced with the alternative that controls us all in crisis: make God your refuge or try to create your own. The ultimate issue is whether we will trust ourselves. Who will be the effective God in our lives? David looks up and sees the immense realities that overshadow these events.
Psalm 11:3. “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” This is a statement that may have been made by those giving David the advice to flee. David’s advisers we’re afraid because they saw only frightening circumstances and crumbling foundations.
What The Righteous Do When…
- Morality is undermined and evil sweeps unchecked?
- The Bible is attacked and its teachings are ridiculed and ignored?
- Even professed Christians support the rising tide of unbelief?
- Family values are crumbling and the tide of frequent divorce sweeps forward with increasing damage to children, parents, and society alike.
- Everything around us seems to be giving way?
This is still a common question among God’s people. It’s frustrating to feel powerless in the face of crumbling foundations, and some become convinced that there is nothing we can do. Added to this, some follow the poor advice of “flee” or in modern times, “hunker down, get in the bunker, save yourself and your children and withdraw completely from society.” When the foundations are crumbling the temptation is to stop speaking, stop being the city set on the hill. “What can the righteous do? They can go on being righteous. And they can stand against the evil of their society… The one thing they must not do is “flee to the mountains.”
Psalm 11:4. “The Lord is in His Holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven.” It is interesting that the questions being asked by those controlled by fear is “What can the righteous do? Yet the real question is, to when shall the righteous look? There is nothing they can do if they look to themselves, however there is a lot they can do if they look to the Lord. The Lord is the only one we can look when the foundations are being shaken, and He is the only one to whom we must look if we are to stand firm in unsettling times.
“I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.” -Psalms 122:1- I no longer live in fear but in truth.