Psalm 11:3 “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Observation: This verse, either spoken by David’s friends or perhaps by a whispering enemy seeking to wear down his faith, reflects the stress David experienced as Saul and his army sought to kill him. David’s opening affirmation sets the tone of the Psalm: “In the Lord I take refuge” (v. 1), immediately followed by flesh’s response: “Flee like a bird to your mountain.” The truth of David’s situation is described in the next verse: “. . . the wicked bend their bows . . . to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.” (v. 2)

Application: The story seems a bit musty, even quaint, as read 3,000 years later; today’s enemy has been emboldened to destroy the foundations in ways both shadowy and public. Weaponry has advanced beyond mere arrows, yet destruction‘s purposes remain unchanged: the sundering of governmental foundations and paralyzing of the righteous toward inaction and fear.

It is instructive to look to David as my model for response. The problem he faced was never primarily Saul’s pursuing army; rather, his own heart and mind were the real battlegrounds. The temptation to flee, to find an earthy place in which to hide, would make a mockery of his oft-repeated confidence in God’s ability to rescue. It is true that an enemy was determinedly bent not only upon David’s defeat but also on the destruction of the very foundations of the culture and societal values. So here is David’s test: would he respond to the obvious external circumstances that caused the hearts of those around him to melt in fear, or would he trust instead in the unseen reality God had written on his heart? “The Lord . . . is on His throne” (v. 4), David said; “. . . the Lord is righteous, He loves justice; upright men will see His face.” (v. 7)

I bear the same struggle as David. Oh, it is of a different “kind”, for I have no David-like anointing to impact a nation. Or have I? Is not the kingdom of God within me? When everything about me signals a time for retreat does God not remind me to “resist the enemy and he will flee?” (James 4:7) The government of David’s day had become unhinged; all federal resources were marshaled against righteousness. Yet here is what David knew and what I must remember: “When the earth and all its people quake, it is I (God) who hold its pillars firm.” (Ps. 75:3)

Prayer: Father, You have used this long-ago story to draw me back from a precipice of despair over present circumstances. You have reminded me of Your peace in the midst of storms, of Your constancy in the midst of insanity, of Your victory over every enemy. Give me the heart of David, Lord, that I might be reminded to affirm my trust in You no matter destruction’s arrows.