Explaining the Book

Bible Study Guide

Psalms

Psalm 11 3 Commentary

You might think that the report in Psalm 11 1-3 couldn’t get much worse. But it does. It ends on this cheerful note – “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Hopelessness. That’s what this report to David is aiming to achieve in the hearts of the upright. Foundations are the part of a building that support its weight. They’re what hold the building up.

Nowadays if you own a home and you discover a cracked foundation or a foundation that’s in some other way faulty, you need to fix it – NOW. You’ll spend thousands of dollars fixing it, but it’s worth it if you end up not loosing your hundred-thousand dollar home.

But this report isn’t talking about cracked foundations or shifting foundations. It’s claiming that the foundation of Israeli society is – what’s the word? Destroyed! Torn down! They’re no more.

And any of us who own a home – can you imagine this? Your foundation just completely crumbles up and disintegrates. What do you do then? Well, you get on the phone with your home-owners insurance agent!

But the outlook is not as positive in this psalm. This report that David’s hearing is giving no hope to the righteous when the society around them is crumbling – indeed, HAS crumbled. The bland statement – “what can the righteous do?” is anticipating a broken-spirited… “nothing” from the righteous.

My wife and I were discussing this psalm one night. And I just reflected on how this kind of report sounds a lot like the news today. I mean, can you imagine a newscast like this – “In other news, Christians are fleeing like birds back into their religious communities. Atheists are plotting their demise. There’s really nothing the Christians can do to stop this. Back to you, Frank!”

My point with that fake news segment is that it’s not just David that was receiving discouraging reports back in his day. We do too.

In our culture, broadly, we have in this country a mass defection from any sort of Scriptural norms. Homosexuality is pushed as the new norm. And if you’re not willing to comply with this new norm, more and more, you face the threat of being punished. There are certainly other issues out there, but this is the one that the world is taking to the righteous. How should we react? And not just how should we react to homosexuality – but how should we react to anything you and I are called out on in the public square – or at work – or even among your extended family? Any area in which we’re challenged to defend our biblical convictions?

We could do exactly what this report to David urged on him. We could flee. We could do so out of fear – those arrows are about to fly! Or we could do so out of hopelessness – the foundation are destroyed – what are you going to be able to do about it?

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