Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on September 20, 2015
Open your Bibles to Psalm 11. Today is our second to last Sunday in our sermon series named the Summer of Psalms. It is interesting to note that after next Sunday we will have only covered eight percent of the Psalms. In light of all that we have learned about who God is and who we are, one would think we would have covered way more than only eight percent. However, I believe this perceived disparity speaks to the depth of this book. The book of Psalms is a very deep well of the knowledge of God. No devotional book, or hymnal holds a candle to the truth that is contained in these 150 Psalms. I hope that all of you have recognized this over the last 3 months and make it a point to read the book of Psalms every year for the rest of your life. As we read at the beginning of our series in Psalm 1 our delight should be in God’s Word, and our meditation on it should be daily. This will lead to the producing of fruit in our lives that spiritually prospers us in the midst of a fallen world.
With that said, let us continue to pursue the fruit the comes from soaking in God’s Word by reading Psalm 11 together, pray, and then dwell upon its application in our lives.
David, our Psalmist, begins by saying in verse 1, “In the Lord I take refuge.” This statement by David is a declaration of trust. David is asserting that the Lord is his stronghold, that the Lord is his protector. David is claiming that his confidence is in God.
In this day and age it would not be uncommon for you to see this verse, or something like it, posted on Facebook. Most likely it would be in the form of some type of pretty picture with perhaps a mountain in the background and some attractive model down on his or her knees with Psalm 11:1 written in cursive. We are all quick to proclaim that we trust in God.
In fact that is what it means to be a Christian, trusting in the promises of God that are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Many times, instead of saying trust, we use the word faith, or believe. The definition of a Christian is one who has faith in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. The Bible is abundantly clear about the means by which we are saved.
But Do You Really Believe?
In light of that, most Christians, if asked if they believe in Jesus, they would answer with a resounding yes. They would claim a faith in Jesus because they know that the Bible is clear that the only way to receive forgiveness for our sins and eternal life is by saying yes. But here is the question, do they really believe? Sure you can claim Christ as your refuge, but is he really your refuge? Or are those just words.
This was the issue in the book of James. The author James was sick and tired of people going around claiming they believed in Jesus, but seeing no legitimate transformation in their life. No consistency with their mouth and their actions.
Do You Pass the Test?
In Psalm 11 David declared that God was his refuge. In order to see if that was really true, we see in verse 4 and 5 a testing of that self-proclaimed trust in God.
David, however, was not the only one in the Bible who was tested. Two familiar stories of testing are Abraham and Job. Abraham was tested by God when he was asked to sacrifice his son.
With this said, we must be careful, for the testing of God through the wickedness of man must be understood rightly. We must recognize that God through these testing keeps his hands clean. God is not bending the bow against David, it is the wicked. However, he is allowing it.
Once again, I think Job is very helpful in understanding how this works. If you recall, it was God who brought Job to Satan's attention, but it was Satan who begged to destroy him. It was only after God's permission that Satan could take one step towards Job. Peter is another example of this in Luke 22:31, when Jesus informs Peter that Satan has demanded to sift him like wheat. Satan new his place, and he knew he could not act against Peter without God's permission, so it was God's will, but his hands were clean.
The same is true with David in Psalm 11. The wicked were the ones who longed to destroy David, but it is only after God's permission that they could pull back there bow. Why was this permission granted, to test David.
And the same is true for us. Our testing is done at the will of God, but the instruments for the testing are the wicked and the temptation comes from our sinfulness. Even though God is allowing it, his hands are clean.
We Shall See His Face
For those who fail the test, and abandon Christ and flee to the mountains of this world like a weak little bird, their portion will be that of the wicked: coals, fire, sulfur and scorching wind. But for those who stand and fight, who lift of the shield of their faith and extinguish the fiery arrows of Satan, our reward will be that we will see God. Those who are upright at the end of the war will stand face to face with God. These words are the words of David, but they are also the words of Jesus.