Psalm 11 is all about perception! The first two verses are about faithless perceptions or misconceptions (only seeing things from a human perspective and point of view): the last five verses are about faith perception – when thinks look bleak and fundamental tenets appear to be undermined, shaking or crumbling, things are not-at-all as they might think or seem to an undiscerning eye or outward viewpoint!
2019 has been a distressing year in the West. New York State passed legislation sanctioning pregnancy termination at any point in gestation. A Northern Ireland court, just last week, handed out a custodial sentence for the brutal claw-hammering-to-death of a chihuahua cross pup. Correctly such cruelty was punished by the judge. Yet very few even blink at more barbarous crushing of skulls of a viable human fetus by the forceps of a qualified obstetrician. Tears of water should stream like rivers from our eyes – man’s inhumanity to man has trampled divine law. This is but one example of the destruction of foundations of any civilized, godly, society.
It is tempting at such times to bury our heads in our hands, run away in fear, or cave in to compromise. Christ’s call to God’s Church in these days is to stand firm in truth. Psalm 11 captures the thought – David is clearly shaken up by the events that have taken place. It fits quite well, contextually, with the attempted coup d’etat of Absalom.
On balance, probably the advice is not to fly away to some height, but to hold fast in trust (though a good case can also be made for the flee-to a fortress view): like an eagle on a cliff, or a fledgling stowed safely in a nest in some granite or basalt cleft, the message is clear – take refuge in Yahweh the Rock then when the earthquake comes, and throughout the after-shocks, whatever you do stay put!
It is in Yahweh (emphatic position) that I have already taken refuge (or run for cover and protection – bringing out the sense)! How is it that you people (plural) keep on saying (continuous tense) to my soul (repeatedly or constantly): “Flutter-off (or fly away) from your mountain, O bird.” (Italics are mine to give the sense).
The gloom merchants, scare-mongering, headless-chicken-counselors, have their reasons of course. “Can’t you see, O king, there is danger on all sides.” The problem with ‘worldly wisdom’ is that it only looks at the outward aspect of visible circumstances. It is not words of faith that visualize archers lining up to take pot-shots at God’s prince. Watch them put their boots on the bronze to bend the bow. In slow-motion they draw a dart from the quiver of feathered arrows with sharp, metallic, arrow heads, and then place it on the string. See them lurking in ambush in some thicket, ravine or cave – in the dark they wait until the upright monarch appears: these deadly assassins have targeted David, and they are determined to get their man.