When Enemies Threaten

Psalm 11, evil, wickedness, threatenThere seems to be a pervasive sense of unease and insecurity in our land.  It is true that we are threatened by evil men who want to do the world harm and to to destroy our country but we need not fear or spend our time being worried and anxious.  Evil men and those who threaten the righteous are not a new occurrence and good people have had to stand up to bullies (with God’s help) for all of recorded history.

In King David’s time, he and his people were similarly threatened and it is useful and instructive to look at the prayer that David offered to God in Psalms 11 as a model response to threat.

In the Lord I take refuge;
How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain;
 For, behold, the wicked bend the bow,
They make ready their arrow upon the string
To shoot in darkness at the upright in heart.
 If the foundations are destroyed,
What can the righteous do?”  Psalm 11:1-3 (NASB)

In the first three verses, David asks a couple of questions and makes an observation about the situation that he and his people are in.  At first we get the sense that David is responding to those who have already given up hope and who are running for the hills.  David says, (paraphrasing) “How can you ask me to give in to despair when I have chosen to trust in God’s plan and find my refuge in him?” and that is a good reminder for us as well.  There might be a time when we need to physically retreat from a situation that is dangerous or unfeasible but that doesn’t mean we do so because we have given up hope or have forgotten about God’s provision for us.

David goes on to acknowledge that his enemies were getting ready to make war (they make ready their arrow upon the string) but then asks the question that we must all ask and answer: “if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

These “foundations” refer to places of security and can mean the very fabric of society.  In other words, if my people, my country and my way of life are removed from me, what is my response?

The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.
 The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked,
And the one who loves violence His soul hates.
 Upon the wicked He will rain snares;
Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup.
 For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness;
The upright will behold His face.  Psalm 11:4-7 (NASB)

For David, his response was to look to God and to assure himself and those around him of who God is and what the fate of evil would ultimately be.  God sees and knows all that is in the hearts of men and regardless of how present circumstances might look the one who afflicts the righteous and practices evil will receive their due.  God is righteous and loves those who practice righteousness and his promise to them is that they will see His face.

Seeing the face of God implies being held close by Him such that we both feel his presence in the here and now but will also, one day, see him face to face with all barriers removed.  We are assured of God’s presence and protection and need not fear evil men or their schemes.  Continue to trust in the Lord, no matter what happens, and remember to praise Him at all times and in all seasons of life because He is worthy.


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