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98. Psalm 11: “Keeping God at a Distance”

Camp Edge Lodge in Alloway, NJ –Afternoon Concert on 2/16/2019

(edited December 2021)

 

[note: This brief message from a very brief Psalm was crammed into comments between songs that I made at a concert near my home in New Jersey. Some of the songs included on my “More” music cd were recorded that day.] 

 

Verse 1:In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?”

 

David, because of his faith in God eschews the practical advice to run and hide from adversity.

 

Verse 2:For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.”

 

This is all very personal for David. Troubles are a very personal matter for everybody, I would say.

 

Verse 3:If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

 

This is profound and often quoted, and I can see why. But, though I may be wrong, I can’t help wondering if David was inclined to see himself as “all good” and his enemies as “all bad” sometimes. That could lead to frustration and inaction. It doesn’t align with the Teachings of Christ, either. Of course, David lived long before Jesus came.

 

Verse 4:The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.”

 

Under the Old Covenant they often describe the Lord as kind of a distant and detached judge of mankind. David falls in line with that view:

 

Verse 5:The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.”

 

This is NOT the New Testament, Born-Again Believer, view of the Lord. Notice that David is, I think, saying that God not only hates sinners, but He is also kind of skeptical about the righteous too! I know there’s truth in it, but it seems a little cold, doesn’t it?

 

Verses 6-7:Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.”

 

David emphasizing Hell over Heaven here? God hates the wicked and they get blasted away without mercy. But he also adds that the Lord loves not the righteous person but their righteousness.

This is not meant to be an attack on David, or the Scriptures. My point is that Old Covenant worship could lead anyone, even King David, to some very slanted views of the Lord. Have you ever heard a skeptic say that they could never accept God because of what they saw of Him in reading the Old Testament? I’ve heard that several times. I think it’s because worshipping God through the law, as they did, made them view Him differently than we SHOULD today. By good works and through strict obedience to ritual they sought God’s favor. That’s how they lived. That’s what they had.

God has never changed or needed to change. The point I’m trying to make is that we who have trusted in Christ today must not fall back into those Old Testament patterns of worshipping or viewing God through laws and rituals, ancient or modern! We are no better than the Old Covenant believers, but our Covent with God in Jesus is far better than the one they had. The Bible says that, I didn’t make it up! And I think the Lord expects much more of us because of it. He rightfully expects us to remain as close as possible to Him under ALL the circumstances of this life. To live, not by our own works but solely through Christ’s on-going work in our hearts. Amen?

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