Provocative Devotion: Psalm 11

In the Lord I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
    “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
    they have fitted their arrow to the string
    to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?”

The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord‘s throne is in heaven;
    his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The Lord tests the righteous,
    but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;
    fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
    the upright shall behold his face.

So many of David’s Psalms deal with struggles in life. Maybe that is a reason they are so precious to so many people, because they are so real and honest. Even in the brief seven verses of this Psalm there are at least two major areas of struggle that David laments. One is that the Lord puts the righteous person to the test and the other is that the righteous person has enemies. I suspect that the two things are essentially linked. The Lord often uses the wicked to test, strengthen, correct, those He loves. He did it by using the Babylonians and the destruction Jerusalem and exile of its people. Why would be not do something similar in my life and yours?

Do I look at those who oppose me as enemies to be reviled? Or do I look at them as people whom God is using to chastise and strengthen me? Is it possible that those who on the surface would be considered enemies, are really a gift from God? They are instruments in God’s hand to shape me more into the image of Christ? After all, were not those who had Jesus nailed to the cross actually doing something that would ultimately result in my salvation? It makes me think of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers. The result of that terrible action was that eventually Joseph had a high position of authority in Egypt from which he was able to save all his brothers and their families from death by starvation. Joseph’s eventual response to his brothers was that what they meant for evil, God intended for good.

I need to see all the circumstance of my life through the lens of God’s goodness. That He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and nothing escapes His notice or happens to me without His consent and that all that happens to me is intended by Him to mold and shape me into Christ likeness. It may be painful at the time, even bewildering, but I know that through it all He intends for me to be able to behold His face forever more.

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