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PSALM 11

Even with only 7 verses, Psalm 11 is a "powerful" portion of Scripture.

Perhaps it's KEY verse is number 3.

We plan to examine it in some detail, the Lord willing.

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:1

 

Psalm 11

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David

1 In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? 2 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. 3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? 4 The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.     5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. 6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.

 

LESSON 7, JUNE 23, 2004:

I once heard a Preacher say this.

He framed his words in the context of service for our Lord.

"We attract what we are!"

I believe that just may be true!

Kind people just seem to "draw" other kind people to them! Grumblers live in a world with other grumblers too! And ... of course ... godly folks do enjoy the company of other godly brothers and sisters as well. (Thatís one of the very ideas of fellowship at the House of God!)

And todayís Bible study verse further illustrates this point.

"For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright."  Psalm 11:7

God Himself loves to be around people who seek to be like our dear Lord! However, unlike any other, He can CHANGE sinners into saints through the Blood of Jesus!

The words "righteous" and "righteousness" do come from the same "root." The Hebrew term "tzsaddiyq" means correct or even straight in a moral or judicial sense. "Right" in the light of Godís character.

God is RIGHT and He loves those who also seek to be right by His standards!

He attracts what He is!

The verb for "loveth" is "ahab" in Hebrew and means to have affection for. It can involve every level of attraction from "fondness" to mature dedicated love! (The Bible context must help you decide ... under the leadership of the Holy Spirit!) This "loving" of rightness is a decision God has made ... never to be changed! The action is "perfect" in Hebrew. Completed! Thereís just nothing that can be added to it at all! He loves the righteous with a "perfect" love! This reminds me of John 13:1 --- "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end."

I got interested in that verbal "string" ("the Lord loveth") throughout the whole Bible. Watch. Psalm 37:28 --- "For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off." And then Psalm 87:2 --- "The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob." Plus (for a second time) Psalm 146:8 --- "The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous." And get this one too! Proverbs 3:12 --- "For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth." Paul adds another in 2 Corinthians 9:7 --- "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

I say it again!

He loves what He is!

I am remembering also that He loves old sinners! (John 3:16 is still in the Book! "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.") BUT He saves redeems (washes) those old sinners and changes them into people who are going to be formed into the image of His Dear Son! It is of us believers Paul speaks when he says we are "to be conformed to the image of his Son" in Romans 8:29!

Not only does God love the righteous ... He beholds them lovingly at all times! "His countenance doth behold the upright!" (Upright is in Hebrew "yashar" and means straight, level, correct or just!) Again, this is by Godís measurements! The wordís first Bible use (in Exodus 15:26) speaks of those things that are "right" in Godís sight. The second Bible use is in Numbers 23:10 where Balaam longs to "die the death of the RIGHTEOUS!" (When "pointed" differently the word casn mean "to please" someone. Here it is in that sense: Numbers 23:27 --- "And Balak said unto Balaam, Come, I pray thee, I will bring thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence." Uprightness pleases God!

The noun countenance ("paniym") means literally "face!" But itís always plural ("faces") in Scripture! (No doubt speaking of the Trinity!) It is always translated Singular when referring to God (same with "Elohim")! One God ... Three "Persons" of the Godhead! 1st Use: Genesis 1:2! "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." The FACE of the dark deep (a picture of lost sinners) attracted the Face of the Almighty God! And He turned it into Light ... just like Him! Wow!

Lastly the verb "behold," which in Hebrew is "chazah." It means to gaze at something! It suggests on-going action! God just keep on looking and looking at the upright! In its first Bible use it is translated "provide!" (Exodus 18:21) Provide does mean "to see" (video) "ahead" (pro)!

Let me tell you something. Early this Wednesday morning (6:00 AM) my heart has been encouraged as Iíve thought upon this great verse!

Remember, when things get "bad" ... God loves you!

Through His marvelous Grace you are being made more and more like Him in character!

Praise His dear Name!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

LESSON 6, JUNE 22, 2004:

The sixth verse of Psalm 11 is unusual.

It speaks of the Lord and says ....

"Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup."  (Psalm 11:6)

That sounds like Sodom and Gomorrah, doesn't it?  And yet we know that in the dark days ahead (after the Rapture I believe) God will do it again!

In Scripture God is the Sender of the rain!  Here the first use of the verb:  "And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground."  (Genesis 2:5)  The "time" sense of our verb "rain" (in Hebrew = "matar") is one of on-going action.  God sends this fire-rain on the earth for a while! Read Revelation 8:7 --- "The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up."

God plans to rain 4 things on the wicked:  snares, fire, brimstone and an horrible tempest!

The noun "snares" translates "pach" and is from the basic word for "a net with which to catch animals!"  It's a trap to catch the wicked!  The very SAME verb is also used for beating pure gold into this plates so it can be used (at the Tabernacle) for the Glory of God!  (One verb represents curses for the wicked and blessings for the godly!)

"Fire" just means fire!  "Esh" means burning, flaming and hot!  I take this to mean literal fire too.

"Brimstone" is a word the Hebrews used for the resin of a certain tree.  It was sticky (gooey) and adhered to one's body.  It came to be used for sulphur also.  It is a burning substance that fastens itself to human flesh and can't be removed!  (What pain!)  I've had this to happen to me (in a high school chemistry lab)!  It is terrible. (Only my finger was involved ... but it HURT!)

The adjective "horrible" comes from a verbal root that means "to boil up!"  It depicts great intensity!

And "tempest" is the word for wind ("ruach")!  It is also the word for Spirit!  This well could be God the Holy Spirit in judgment upon the wicked!  (He can be a Gentle Breeze or a Terrible Storm!)

These 4 characteristics describe the coming end (really, just the beginning) of the wicked man's life!  Hell never ends either!

It is his "portion."  In Hebrew "menath" means "to weigh out" to someone their share!  Wicked folks inherit such punishment!  Righteous folks (via the Blood of Jesus) inherit eternal life in heaven!  It all depends on what one does with Jesus!

Cup is from a verb that means "to hold together."  An cup holds 8 ounces of juice together so one can drink it!  It is so sad that the ungodly here have to drink this cup of wrath ... even after Jesus has consumed THE Cup of God's wrath on Calvary!

Dear reader, if you've never been saved, take these words as a warning from God!

Listen to Jesus in John 5:24 --- "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

Thank God for salvation!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

LESSON 5, JUNE 21, 2004:

All through Scripture the "righteous" and the "wicked" are contrasted!

This contrast is seldom any more visible than in today's Bible verse:

"The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth." Psalm 11:5

The verb "trieth" is interesting!

In Hebrew it's "bachan" and means to investigate (especially) metals in order to determine their genuineness! (To examine, to prove, to scrutinize!)

Job 23:10 gives us a classic statement using our little verb here! "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."

Here are three different verbs ... all describing God's scrutiny: "Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart." Psalm 26:2 And again notice: Psalm 66:10 --- "For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried." And in Psalm 139:23 David asks the Lord: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts."

Of course the "righteous" are (in New Testament terminology) the "saved" of God! Those who have been so examined and found straight (judicially) right before the Almighty God!

Job actually thought (at least once) that God was never going to quit testing him! Job 7:18 --- "And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?"

BUT the wicked are next introduced to our minds.

That word wicked ("rasha") means "morally wrong or actively bad!" (To be wrong in God's eyes! To disturb! Even to violate!) It's a pretty strong word! This is aggressive ("activist") wickedness!

Parallel to the wicked are those who "love violence!" The noun violence is in Hebrew spelled "hamas." Did you get that? HAMAS! (The name of one of the terrorist groups that daily harasses and murders Jews! They named themselves the "violent" ones!)

God, just before the Flood of Noah's day, saw the whole earth filled with violence! Genesis 6:11 --- "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence."

And the verb "hateth" translates "sane" in Hebrew. It carries a wide range of meaning: from outright hatred to being "set against" someone! (This is according to Vine's Expository Dictionary) The Bible "context" of a verse and the leading of the Holy Spirit must help one interpret each individual usage of the word. But let me tell you clearly: God hates sin! (Proverbs 6:16 --- "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him ....")

Now look at what the verse both directly says (and then implies)! God hates wickedness! God hates violence!

Then ... God tries the righteous!

Is this not teaching us that the wicked (at least eventually) draw God's wrath ... and the righteous (of necessity falling into the opposite category) draw His Love?

If so ... then God's TRYING a man or woman may be PROOF of His LOVE ... not His unconcern! (Not even always of judgment for sin either!)

In fact, it is exactly that!

Listen to Revelation 3:19 where God says: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." Or Hebrews 12:7 --- "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" And God does love His sons (and daughters)!

You will not hear many "health, wealth and success" preachers deal with Psalm 11:5! No sir! They're not going to preach that the Lord TRIETH the righteous! They only will tell us that God prospers the righteous!

HOWEVER ... both these truths must be balanced! Sometimes God's WAY to blessing is through TRIAL!

That's taught both in the Old Testament and the New! David proves this in Psalm 119:71 where he says: "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes." Look what happened in Psalm 4:1 --- "Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer." Then James (in James 1:3-4) tells us "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

Christian, this Monday HE LOVES YOU!

Rest in that truth!

Even in the hard times (when the very foundations are being destroyed ... Psalm 11:3) our verse today brings encouragement! Here it is again: "The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth."

Praise His Name!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, JUNE 20, 2004:

As a young preacher I once heard an older man of God quote this verse of Scripture in mockery. He was saying that God canít do everything ... and we ought to get involved in the work of God ourselves. (But the context of the verse says there's not much left that the righteous can do!  The "foundations" have been destroyed!)

It wasnít long after that incident that I preached in a church for a dear Pastor (in College Park, Georgia) who had the very same verse stretched across the front of his Church sanctuary ... in big bold letters!  He was praising the verse (as expressing a great and encouraging truth for us Believers)!

Needless to say, the "Bible" displaying Preacher impressed me the most!

What verse, Brother Bagwell?

"The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men."   Psalm 11:4

The previous verses of this Psalm draw a dark picture. Things are bad. The wicked are apparently in control worldwide. The godly folks are being urged to "flee!" The vile prepare to attack the righteous! What the righteous man can do is rather limited it seems!

BUT ... God is not dead! He is watching every move on earth! The omniscience (and really His omni-presence too) of God here greatly encourage the Psalmist!

"The Lord is in His Holy Temple!"

Here heaven is called a temple! The word is "heykal" in Hebrew and means a palace or a sanctuary. (Eighty times the word occurs in the King James Bible. Itís "temple" 70 times and "palace" 10 times.) It is derived from a verb stem that means "to be able!" So now we have Godís Omnipotence highlighted as well!  Kings live in Palaces and Priests live in Temples!  Our God is Both!

This Temple is "holy" (in Hebrew = "qodesh"), an adjective meaning clean (or even separated, different)! God is a Holy God! (Thrice Holy! Isaiah 6:3) Now we learn that His Home ... is also holy! Oneís "home" takes on the very traits of its "occupant," doesnít it?

The little preposition "in" literally means in the middle of ... in the midst of! God is the very Center of Heaven! He is what makes Heaven into Heaven!

Habakkuk knows this truth also. "But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him."   Habakkuk 2:20

Next we learn that no matter whatís happening on earth ... God has a Throne in Heaven too! And He occupies it at this very moment!

"The Lordís Throne is in Heaven!"

The Hebrew noun "throne" ("kisse" but pronounced kis-sayí) means seat of honour or stool or (of course) when a King is involved ... a throne!

The word "heaven" is from a root word that means "to be lofty!" The heavens above are Godís abode! Listen to Psalm 2:4 --- "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision."  Or Psalm 103:19 --- "The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all."   And God Himself adds in Isaiah 66:1 --- "Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?" When Jesus taught us to pray, He mentioned His Father Who was in Heaven too! (Matthew 6:9)

Godís Eyes behold!

The verb here means to behold, to look with intensity or to gaze upon! It suggests constant action too! "Chazah" (to behold) is translated once "to provide!" Exodus 18:21 --- "Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens." God is not only watching ... He is caring for His Own!

The little noun for "eyelids" translates a word that (in its root) means "to cover!" Thatís exactly what the eyelids do, isnít it? Hebrew is such a logical language.

And the verb "to try" (in Hebrew = "bachan") means to examine or to prove or to test or scrutinize! (To investigate!)

Sounds like Proverbs 15:3 where Solomon says: "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."  Or Psalm 33:13 --- "The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men."

The phrase "Children of men" in Hebrew looks like this: ben adam! (sons of adam!) It includes every human on earth.

Remember today ... when it looks like you can do absolutely nothing ... God is on the Throne!

When all the very foundations are destroyed ... let God be God!

He has a plan!

What comfort this verse provides!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

LESSON 3, JUNE 19, 2004:

The verse is absolutely astonishing! (That word comes from a Latin noun that means "thunder!") I fear it describes the conditions of our day quite well!

Itís found in Psalm 11:3.

"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

The opening "if" is a conjunction (in Hebrew), not a preposition. It "joins" the preceding thought (the wicked are preparing to "shoot" at the righteous) with the current truth (the foundations are destroyed)! It can mean "for" or "when" or "that" as well as "if." It indicates "causal" relations. (The reason the wicked can mistreat the righteous is due to the fact that the very foundations of law and faith are destroyed!)

The noun for "foundations" translates the Hebrew word "shathah." It means the basis or support or substructure of something. Yes, our word here is plural also. It is related to another word (a verb) that means "to appoint!" Thatís the way it is translated in its first Bible appearance where Eve said: "And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew." Genesis 4:25  From this it looks like you can "appoint" away the very foundations of a society! (Like maybe appointing wicked judges and electing wicked leaders throughout a land!) The noun, when "pointed" differently (yet with the same basic consonant spelling) is rendered "buttocks" in the King James Bible (2 Samuel 10:4 and Isaiah 20:4)! How so? Thatís the part of oneís body on which he sits (the foundation)! And once the word is translated "purposes"... in Isaiah 19:10 --- "And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make sluices and ponds for fish."

By the way, though it is a different language (Greek) ... when Paul says in Hebrews 11:1 that "Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for ...", he is using the same basic thought! Our faith is that which "stands under" all our other beliefs and behaviors! The Greek verb is "hupostasis" --- a standing under!

In America today with almost every additional court ruling or governmental vote or even general election ... our Christian moorings are slipping!

The verb "destroyed" is "haras" and means to tear down or break down or overthrow, to ruin or destroy. The verb is in the Niphal stem ... being in a simple passive voice! The "foundations" didnít simply destroy themselves. Something attacked them! (And they were apparently not maintained and defended either!) The word is found in 43 verses in the Old Testament. Itís first use: "And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble." Exodus 15:7 Subsequently in Exodus 19:21 it is rendered "break through." Read it here: "And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish." And in Exodus 23:24 it is used of overthrowing the false gods of the heathen: "Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images." In Hebrew "utterly" and "overthrow" are "haras" followed by another "haras" (doubled)!

Nevertheless ... when such things happen ... "what can the righteous do?"

Obviously the "righteous" are the saved of God. The "just" or the "lawful" (in Hebrew = "tzsaddiyq")! Those who are right in Godís eyes. (To be right in a forensic sense, a legal sense)

And the verb "do" translates "paal," a verb meaning to make or work or even ordain. (It carries the idea of doing so much that it becomes a "practice.") To act or to function!

The implication is that if the foundations are ever destroyed ... even the righteous will be greatly hampered in what good they can do!

I fear America is rapidly approaching this state!

With the national election getting closer and closer (in November, 2004), our population seemingly is shifting yet again a little more to the liberal side! It does so every four years! (As more and more anti-Christian politicians are elected ... or anti-Christian judges appointed ... the foundations crumble bit by bit. One day they may fall!)

Did you think you would ever see the day when "in God" would be questioned as part of our Pledge of Allegiance?

Or sexual perversion allowed on our streets?

Or the Bible mocked in such a widespread fashion?

Whatís that I hear "cracking?"

Weíd better check! It MAY BE the very underpinning of our faith and way of life!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, JUNE 18, 2004:

The "word pictures" of the Bible are thrilling!

We have one today from Psalm 11!

"For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart." Psalm 11:2

The Psalm is describing for us the battle between godliness and wickedness!  (Much as Psalm 1 does!)

The opening interjection, "Lo," means to behold!  Look!  It suggests an urgency about the whole matter.  It also inserts some emotion and surprise to the verse. It is here for emphasis!  In Hebrew it is "hinneh."

The noun for wicked (in Hebrew = "rasha") implies the active, aggressive, violently wicked!  It may come from a root verb that means disjointed or ill-regulated ... hence restless ... or agitated!  (I believe it suggest a spreading, contaminating evil!  What today's world would call "activist" evil!)  This is evil that has graduated from infancy to complete rebellion!

The verb "bend" is unusual.  "Darak" means to tread upon, to walk upon or to stand upon something!  One must place his foot on the strong bow and pull it to bend it and string it for use!  These wicked folks are actually building a bow and making arrows in order to fight the righteous!

In fact the noun for "bow" is also derived from a word ("qesheth") that means tough, severe or dense!  Hard wood to bend ... hence a stronger bow!  It will shoot the arrows deeply into its intended target!  These wicked people mean business!  They plan to diligently fight the godly!  There is a hatred and an animosity here.  This Psalm is likely projecting itself into the last days (maybe even the tribulation period) that yet lie ahead!  But the "spirit" of this hatred is already with us!

The verb "make ready" is "kun" in Hebrew and means to be erect or to stand up. They are preparing their arrows for the fight!  They are on "alert!"  The verb is usually expressed in the sense of being firm or prepared or stable (established)!

Here is a formidable enemy!

The noun "arrow" is from a verb that means to chop into pieces!  In our King James Bible it is once translated "dart" and once more "shaft!"  (And as "arrow" 48 times!) The word is "chetzs."

To "shoot" at the upright is "yarah" and means to hurl or throw!  It is rendered "shoot" 18 times in the King James Bible.  BUT it is also translated 42 times as "teach" and 4 more times as "teacher!"  Teachers "shoot" knowledge and information into the hearts of their students!  (So do Preachers with the help of the Holy Spirit!)

Is Scripture here showing us that the wicked may not want to kill us literally yet ... just "shoot" us full of their wickedness and lies and false teachings?  Maybe so!

But look at how they shoot at us!

"Privily!"

"Ophel" is a Hebrew noun that means darkness or gloom.  (Sunset or dusk!)  They attack slyly.  Covertly!  The wicked here are a "sneaky" crowd!  They would love to infiltrate the godly and harm them (change them)!  This is spiritual terrorism!  Of its (only) 9 uses in the Bible ... 7 of them are translated "darkness", 1 time it's "privily" and once "obscurity."

The upright (Hebrew = "yashar") are the righteous, godly (saved) folks who love the Lord.  The noun means straight!  Correct, level, just, fitting or righteous!  Here is more of that animosity:  "The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation."  Psalm 37:14

And "heart" is "leb," meaning the innermost part of the man (or woman)!  These godly folks are not hypocrites ... but sincerely (completely) righteous individuals!

It sounds to me like dark days are being described here!

And the battle is already beginning to rage in America!

Jesus told His disciples this was coming:  "It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?"  Matthew 10:25

Surely in these times Matthew 5:12 and 13 ought to be a blessing.  "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

Readers today, don't be alarmed if someone (even at church) mocks or belittles you. And certainly don't be surprised on the job or at the family reunion!  If you're really trying to live for Jesus ... this kind of warfare will come (from the wicked)! 

As usual Paul may have said it best:  "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."  2 Timothy 3:12

This is a dreary lesson today! 

But ... on the authority of Scripture I promise you ... the Lord will be by your side! Hebrews 13:5 says:  "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

                                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 1, JUNE 17, 2004:

In Psalm 11 people say a very challenging thing to David the man of God.

They say it in response to his godly lifestyle.

Hereís the verse I have in mind:

"In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?" Psalm 11:1

David has just publicly, unashamedly declared His trust in the Lord!

The Name of God used here is Jehovah! It is the Name God uses when He emphasizes His great Redeemer qualities. Throughout all of Genesis chapter one It is God (Elohim) Who creates! But when man is introduced in chapter two (man who falls into sin and needs to be saved) it no longer is just God (Elohim) Who moves! No! No! It is the LORD God! (Jehovah Elohim) Jehovah is Godís direct Name used in the plan of salvation! Jehovah-Jesus shed His Blood that sinners might be saved! The old timers used to say that Jehovah is Godís covenant making Name!

Jehovah is also the Name of God that He Himself defines as The "I AM THAT I AM!" In the heart of the noun is a little Hebrew verb that means "to be!" Jehovah is the God Who IS! He eternally IS! He never will be just the God Who WAS! He never will be just the God Who WILL BE! He just always IS!

It is THIS great God in Whom David puts his trust! The verb "put trust" translates "chasah" and means to flee for protection! David sees God as a Rock of Defense and runs to Him for safety! He sees God as a Strong Tower and flees to Him for refuge! He rests under His Shadow (of His Mighty Wings!) Its first use in the Bible is located in Deuteronomy 32:37-38 where the context is one of trusting in false gods! "And he (the LORD) shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection." This precise verb (in the Qal perfect, 1st person singular form) occurs exactly 8 times in the Book of Psalms! (Psalms 7:1 and 11:1 and 16:1 and 25:20 and 31:1 and 71:1 and 141:8 and 144:2) Eight times ... the number of new beginning! There is another Hebrew verb for this kind of trust ("batach") ... but is not so demonstrative! Our verb here is by far the stronger of the two!

BUT look at the response to Davidís profession of such great faith!

Some folks (the heathen, the enemies of God, or perhaps just some spineless advisors) say something to him. The verb "to say" (in Hebrew = "amar") is framed so as to indicate they say this again and again, repeating it constantly!

What do they say?

Flee! The word means "to wander, to disappear or even to waver!" The verb is spelled "nud." It is formed as an imperative! This lost crowd is saying to David, RUN! (As a command!) GET OUT OF HERE! Its first basic use in the Bible (Genesis 4:12) is "vagabond!" Cain went to the land Of "Nod" to live (Genesis 4:16) ... and Nod is our very word here "nud!" (Wandering Place!) In 1 Kings 4:15 the word is translated "shaken!" ("For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water.") In Job 2:11 it is "to mourn!" In Job 42:11, it is "bemoaned!" In Psalm 36:12 it is "remove!" Itís "be removed" again in Isaiah 24:20 ... but I want you to read it: "The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again." (A torn down cottage!) But old weeping Jeremiah is the "King" of using this word! (11 times!) In Jeremiah 18:16 itís "wag" as to wag oneís head! It means "to skip" in Jeremiah 48:27!

Such fleeing is at times compared to the behavior patters of birds in Scripture. For example: Proverbs 26:2 --- "As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come." (The Hebrew word for "bird" here is derived from a word that means "to skip about" as little birds do!)

BUT the Bible also reminds us that the righteous do not flee! They fight! Proverbs 28:1 --- "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion."

Preacher, next time some weak fearful person tells you to run ... tell him NO! Stay! Fight the good fight of faith! Grab the sword of the Spirit and use it mightily with Godís help!

David just cannot understand that rationale. HOW could they advise him to run? Can you imagine Jesus running from Calvary? No! He in fact ran toward Calvary! He says in Luke 12:50 --- "But I have a baptism to be baptized with (the Cross); and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!"

Dear Christian friend this Thursday in June ... donít run. Donít fearfully retreat! Trust God for the victory! Remember Romans 8:31 --- "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"

(I am not saying that perhaps there may be some times when we ought to flee. Hereís a classic example from the preaching of Paul. He says it to young preacher Timothy. "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." 2 Timothy 2:22)

The weak said to David ... RUN!

And, in a strange way ... David did run!

Right into the strong Arms of God!

He fled to the Throne of Grace!

And, as weíve seen today, thatís exactly what the verb "trust" means!

How blessed we are as Christians.

What a Refuge we have in Jesus!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

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