My main source of finding encouragement, strength and joy to face each day’s challenges comes from reading and studying the Bible. I especially love the book of Psalms. I have found that they not only help me in getting to know God better, but they also help me to express my thoughts and feelings to God in prayer. They help me in learning how to praise and give thanks to him. And they give me some needed understanding, as well as comfort, as I struggle with questions, hurts and suffering in my life.
In meditating on Psalm 11, I found a few insights about how to respond to and go through a crisis. David, the writer of the psalm, doesn’t exactly say what his crisis was, but I think we all can say that we’ve had similar feelings in the days in which we are living. Doesn’t it sometimes feel like the very foundations of our society are crumbling? What are we supposed to do?
Verse one gets us started on the right note. It simply says: “In the Lord I take refuge.” In him we find a safe place and comfort. There we acquire strength and find help in our time of need. Even though some may be telling us to “Flee like a bird to the mountains,” our best advice is to run to Him as our refuge.
Verses two describes how it can feel when evil seems to be shooting at you from the shadows. “For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.” It’s danger which you can’t always see, but it’s also deadly. Where do we find safety? We can find refuge in the Lord!
Verse three says, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” That really describes how I sometimes feel when I consider the foundations of our society, things like faith, family, truth, honesty and respect for others. What once was considered wrong is now considered to be right, and even celebrated. What used to be considered right and celebrated, is now considered wrong, and those who hold to those views are condemned. Everything seems to be crumbling! What can we do? Begin here: Take refuge in the Lord and in his Word!
Verse four reminds us that God is still in control! “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them.” The Lord sees and knows what’s happening. He is still the sovereign King of the universe. We must find our refuge in Him!
So what will be the result? Verses five and six tell us this: The Lord examines (and knows) the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates (rejects) with a passion. On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.” You see, for the wicked, there is no refuge. There will be only judgment and separation from God.
But for the righteous, for those who have put their trust in God, there is a promise. Verse seven puts it this way, “For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.” When we go to God as our refuge in times of trouble we will find the joy of his presence and of seeing Him as he really is.
Jim Newman is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2367 or by emailing [email protected]. Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church and Lemon Cove Community Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.