In The Lord I Have Taken Refuge - Psalm 11 and Proverbs 22
This morning I was in a bible study and at one point in the study there were two different conversations going on at the same time. I was trying to listen to one of the conversations but it was easier to hear the other conversation that was going on near me. To be honest, I have no idea now what was being said to me by the man that I was looking at and trying to hear.
In a similar way, there are multiple conversations which are seeking to speak into our lives. Perhaps we know this to be more true now than ever before. We live in a world where many people are attempting to get our attention and to get us to take up the cause that they believe in. I have found it hard to pay attention to the right things in the midst of all of this. Sometimes this is frustrating because I will spend time in the Word and then go about my day and I soon find myself distracted by all the other voices that are speaking to me.
You see this happening to David in Psalm 11 but David provides a good defense against this challenge. We read in Psalm 11:1-3 these words, “In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain, for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted the arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; if the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do?’”
David’s first response is to say, “In the LORD I take refuge”. David does not say, “I plan to take refuge.” He does not say, “I am heading to my refuge.” No, he has already taken refuge in God and I will not be moved. He has already taken shelter in the LORD and he continually shelters in the LORD. And David is determined to remain there and to not be moved.
Yet, someone around him has seen the wicked bend their bow and fitted the arrow to the string. Someone has seen the wicked take aim to shoot at anything that moves. In this person’s mind the king must flee to his mountain. If he stays he will be destroyed and the foundation will come to ruin and then what will the righteous do?
In that moment this person says to David, “Flee to your mountain!”
But David says, “How can you tell me to flee?”
The man says, “Behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted the arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart!”
David says, “I will not flee to my mountain.”
The man says, “But if the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do?”
David replies, “In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul such things?”
Today it is not uncommon to hear the alarmists all around us saying similar things. There are so many people who are consumed with telling others about the latest threat. They quickly share the most recent bit of alarming news. They truly believe the foundations of the kingdom are about to be destroyed. They have seen the bows bent and the arrows fitted to the string and they are alarmed. There are so many voices out there telling us what to do that it is sometimes hard to show the same confidence and trust that David displays in this Psalm.
Into this moment I have found Proverbs 22:17-19 comforting. It says, “Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are on your lips. That your trust may be in the LORD. I have made them known to you today, even to you.” As Christians, we need to hear the Word of the Lord more than ever.
This morning I really had to incline my ear to hear the conversation that was going on. Similarly, we have to have our ears inclined to hear the words of the wise. We have to lean in and apply our heart to knowledge. Whereas the other voices all around us can so easily unsettle us; the words of the wise will be pleasant if we keep them within us and on our lips.
These verses remind us that it is imperative not only to apply the Word to our heart, but that we are to also have them on our lips. Like David, we need to say often, “How can you say to me...I have trusted in the LORD.” If we will do this we will be trusting in the LORD.