Monday, January 26, 2015

Psalms to See Me Through: Psalm 11—The Lord Is A Refuge

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 {vv. 1-2}.

It is no surprise that the devil seeks to harm those that love the Lord. Jesus warns us that we will have trouble in this world; not to frighten us or cause us to flee in fear, but so that we have peace knowing He is always with us.

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world  {Jn. 16:33 NASB}.

So that you may have peace…

The Lord is a refuge and a defense against the enemy’s attack. He is our protection—He is Jehovah Nissi our banner.

In Exodus 17, the Israelites are fighting the Amalekites and struggling in the battle. Moses however, set himself on a high place, and when he raised his hands the Israelites prevailed in battle, when he rested his arm, they faltered. Aaron and Hur set Moses on a rock and held up his arms until the the Israelites won the victory. After the victory, Moses built and altar and called the name of it Jehovah-Nissi, or Jehovah My Banner. Moses explains why Jehovah is their banner; because the Lord hath sworn he will war with the Amalekites from generation to generation. For the New Testament Church, this promise holds true still today. He will fight for us on our behalf against the devil and his minions. Jesus’ death and resurrection sealed our victory forever. He is our Banner; He is our refuge
If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (v.3)Jesus is our foundation; the devil cannot take this away. Don’t forget. Don’t bow to the devil’s schemes. Don’t panic. Rest. He cannot destroy the foundation. Build your foundation on the Lord, and when the wind and storms blow, you will not fall.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it {Matt. 7:24-27}.

 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. {Ps. 11: 4-7}.

Do you know that the righteousness of God is not only a gift He bestows on believers that have faith in Jesus, but it is a divine attribute? In the study of Systematic Theology, the righteousness of God is an attribute of God, “God’s moral purity is [H]is righteousness. This is as it were, God’s holiness applied to his relationship with other beings.”[1]“God is morally spotless in character and action, upright, pure, and untainted.”[2]

What does this mean for us? It means that “God would have remained perfectly righteous had he simply condemned everyone... at great cost to [H]imself, however, God offered salvation to these wicked human beings and did this in such a way that [H]e remained righteous. The death of Christ allowed [H]im to remain just at the same time that [H]e became the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom 3:26).”[3] 

Verse seven then is a beautiful promise. God is righteous, pure and untainted, and we the righteous, will see His face…close your eyes for a moment and imagine the beauty of His face.

Life is hard. Dreams seem fleeting. Trouble seems to be all around. Many times it even seems the devil is gaining ground through those that hate what is right. The Lord is righteous in punishing the wicked; He is also just and righteous in welcoming us into His presence to behold His precious face. Do not fret or worry. God has you in His hand. The Lord hath sworn he will war with your enemies from generation to generation.

[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed., (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 258. 
[2] Walter A. Elwell, ed., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 496.[3]Ibid., 45.

To read all the Psalms in this series click here: Psalms To See Me Through

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