David's struggle with, and triumph over a strong temptation to distrust God, and betake himself to indirect means for his own safety, in a time of danger.
- Those that truly fear God and serve him, are welcome to put their trust in him. The psalmist, before he gives an account of his temptation to distrust God, records his resolution to trust in Him, as that by which he was resolved to live and die. The believer, though not terrified by his enemies, may be tempted, by the fears of his friends, to desert his post, or neglect his work. They perceive his danger, but not his security; they give him counsel that savours of worldly policy, rather than of heavenly wisdom. The principles of religion are the foundations on which the faith and hope of the righteous are built. We are concerned to hold these fast against all temptations to unbelief; for believers would be undone, if they had not God to go to, God to trust in, and future bliss to hope for. The prosperity of wicked people in their wicked, evil ways, and the straits and distresses which the best men are sometimes brought into, tried David's faith. We need not say, Who shall go up to heaven, to fetch us thence a God to trust in? The word is nigh us, and God in the word; his Spirit is in his saints, those living temples, and the Lord is that Spirit. This God governs the world. We may know what men seem to be, but God knows what they are, as the refiner knows the value of gold when he has tried it. God is said to try with his eyes, because he cannot err, or be imposed upon. If he afflicts good people, it is for their trial, therefore for their good. However persecutors and oppressors may prosper awhile, they will for ever perish. God is a holy God, and therefore hates them. He is a righteous Judge, and will therefore punish them. In what a horrible tempest are the wicked hurried away at death! Every man has the portion of his cup assigned him. Impenitent sinner, mark your doom! The last call to repentance is about to be addressed to you, judgement is at hand; through the gloomy shade of death you pass into the region of eternal wrath. Hasten then, O sinner, to the cross of Christ. How stands the case between God and our souls? Is Christ our hope, our consolation, our security? Then, not otherwise, will the soul be carried through all its difficulties and conflicts.
Psalms 11:1-7 . event in his history, as in 1 Samuel 23:13 , the Psalmist avows his confidence in God, when admonished to flee from his raging persecutors, whose destruction of the usual foundations of safety rendered all his efforts useless. The grounds of his confidence are God's supreme dominion, His watchful care of His people, His hatred to the wicked and judgments on them, and His love for righteousness and the righteous.
1. my soul--me ( Psalms 3:2 ).
Flee--literally, "flee ye"; that is, he and his companion.
as a bird to your mountain--having as such no safety but in flight (compare 1 Samuel 26:20 , Lamentations 3:52 ).
2. privily--literally, "in darkness," treacherously.
3. Literally, "The foundations (that is, of good order and law) will be destroyed, what has the righteous done (to sustain them)?" All his efforts have failed.
4. temple . . . heaven--The connection seems to denote God's heavenly residence; the term used is taken from the place of His visible earthly abode ( Psalms 2:6 , 3:4 , 5:7 ). Thence He inspects men with close scrutiny.
5. The trial of the righteous results in their approval, as it is contrasted with God's hatred to the wicked.
6. Their punishment is described by vivid figures denoting abundant, sudden, furious, and utter destruction (compare Genesis 19:24 , Job 18:15 , Psalms 7:15 , 9:15 ).
cup--is a frequent figure for God's favor or wrath ( Psalms 16:5 , 23:5 , Matthew 20:22 Matthew 20:23 ).
7. his countenance--literally, "their faces," a use of the plural applied to God, as in Genesis 1:26 , 3:22 , 11:7 , Isaiah 6:8 , &c., denoting the fulness of His perfections, or more probably originating in a reference to the trinity of persons. "Faces" is used as "eyes" ( Psalms 11:4 ), expressing here God's complacency towards the upright (compare Psalms 34:15 Psalms 34:16 ).