Study Notes

Psalm 11:1-7

11:1-3 How Can You Say?

David is saying, "how in the world can you tell me to run away instead of taking refuge in the Lord?" I think of the difficulties that Nehemiah was having.

The walls around Jerusalem were rebuilt, and the only thing remaining to do was put the doors in the gates. Nehemiah's enemies started sending him letters to distract him. When four letters didn't get a rise out of Nehemiah, the fifth letter said,

Neh. 6:6-7 In it was written, "It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu says, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel; therefore you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports. And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem concerning you, 'A king is in Judah!' And now it will be reported to the king according to these reports. So come now, let us take counsel together."

Nehemiah sent a letter back, saying, "Not!" But then he went to Shem-aw-YAW's house (the son of Del-aw-YAW, son of Meh-hay-tab-ALE). And Shem-aw-YAW said,

Neh. 6:10 ..."Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you, and they are coming to kill you at night."

It was a trap. A trick to show everyone that Nehemiah wasn't trusting in God, but running from his enemies. He writes,

Neh. 6:11-13 But I said, "Should a man like me flee? And could one such as I go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in." Then I perceived that surely God had not sent him, but he uttered {his} prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. He was hired for this reason, that I might become frightened and act accordingly and sin, so that they might have an evil report in order that they could reproach me.

David had this same heart, saying, "How can you say to my soul, 'Flee, run away from the wicked'?"

11:4 Three Comforts

David is taking refuge in the comfort of three truths: the Lord is in His temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven, and the Lord's eyes see all.

The fact that God is in His temple means that David knows he can meet with God, worship Him, and present his case in prayer.

Ps. 18:6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.

The fact that the Lord's throne is in heaven means that He is higher that David's enemies, and sovereignly able to judge.

Ps. 9:4 For Thou hast maintained my just cause; Thou dost sit on the throne judging righteously.

The fact that the Lord's eyes see all means that nothing is beyond His knowledge, and there won't be any excuses, lies, or injustices when He does judge.

Prov. 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.

It is very comforting to know these three truths.

11:5-7 His Soul Hates

We've heard so often that God is a God of love. Indeed, the Scripture says,

1John 4:8 ... God is love.

But because of this, are we justified in saying, "God loves everyone"? Maybe not, because the Bible mentions God's hatred of certain people serveral times:

Ps. 5:4-5 For Thou art not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with Thee. The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity.

Prov. 6:16, 19 There are six things which the LORD hates... A false witness {who} utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.

And it says here in Psalm 11 that God hates those who love violence. We read in the book of Malachi,

Mal. 1:2-3 "I have loved you," says the LORD. But you say, "How hast Thou loved us?" " {Was} not Esau Jacob's brother?" declares the LORD. "Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation, and {appointed} his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness."

The descendants of Esau, who was also called Edom, loved violence. The Edomites violently opposed the Israelites, and were made stubble.

Now, the real mystery is if or when God ceases to love someone and begins to hate them. Are there some people that God has never loved? Or does He stop loving them when they finally and completely reject His Holy Spirit's prompting to believe in Jesus Christ - when they commit the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Or is this concept of hate and love being mutually exclusive a misunderstanding on our part - that maybe God can love a lost sinner, yet hate him at the same time? I honestly don't know - I don't have the answer for such a mystery as this.

But I do know that when we encounter a mystery of this sort, we need to rely on what we do know for sure. And we do know this:

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

The basic truth is that God loves any sinner who will repent and receive His Son, but without repentance and acceptance of Jesus, there will be, sooner or later, a terrible judgment from the Lord.

Go to next study

Go to previous study