The upright shall behold His face | Psalm 11

In church this week we unpacked Psalm 11, and I found it convicting. How deeply do I trust the Lord? Do we believe victory is His, assured and that "it is finished"?


Psalm 11 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Lord Is in His Holy Temple

To the choirmaster. Of David.
11 In the Lord I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
“Flee like a bird to your mountain,
2 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;
3 if the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”[a]

4 The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord's throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
5 The Lord tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
6 Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.

In the scripture we see David's worldly struggles, and his contemplation of God's commitment to David in that time of need.

David starts by rightly declaring God is the righteous man's refuge. What is a refuge? Home, safety, familiar place, and a place of rest. David, self-identifying as a righteous man, has faith despite difficulty, like a man who has the reassurance of home court advantage.

In Psalm 11:1-3 David shares the sort of advice he has received from advisers who wrongly encourage David to flee from danger: "flee like a bird... for behold the wicked bend the bow... to shoot in the dark at the upright heart".

But the line I want to focus on is in verse 3, where the adviser explains David may die if he doesn't flee:

3 if the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”[a]

The upright shall behold His face...

And what strikes me here is that the friend and adviser of king David gets it part right. David's life is at stake, his enemies may overwhelm and take his life. The literal foundations of life may break before the attack. But the adviser gets it wrong when he implies that the foundation is human life, it isn't.

The actual foundation for David is God, not David's own life. David wants to live, and wants to prosper, but more than these things David desires to be close to God, to "see" God's face (Verse 7).

David desires God's intercession and protection, but understands that he need not flee and fear physical death, because that is not the foundation of our existence, God is.

Therefore when the adviser urges David to flee lest his "foundation" be destroyed, the friend is mistaken because David's foundation cannot be destroyed: God cannot fail, nor falter, and He is working all things for His glory and Davids greatest good.

David is a righteous man, and so looks to God:

The Lord is over all things, seeing all wickedness.
The Lord hates sin, and his justice will burn it one day.
And most encouragingly to David:

Psalm 11:7

7 For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.

David trusts in the Lord. David knows that God righteous, just and all-powerful, and that God is for him. For these reasons David desires nothing more than to behold God's face, coming close to God, knowing and walking with God, for God's glorification and David's own greatest good.

With this as his foundation, David is resolute in the face of life threatening danger. David is courageous and hopeful because he has built His life upon faith in a Saviour and King who never fails.

As always, thank you for your time and attention. Have an amazing day and God bless.



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