David makes a preemptive declarative statement in Psalm 11. I totally understand the power and importance of such a stand taken in advance.
“In the Lord I take refuge…” Psalm 11:1
Rehearsing a declaration of trust is an announcement to anyone that distrusting God is not an option. Temptation to distrust must be met with decisiveness. Take refuge, but do not flee the storm.
Even at the advice of friends or advisors.
David has been advised to flee and fly to a mountain like a bird. His rebuttal is basically to call out their bad advice. How can David’s friends or advisors, like Job’s, give him such terrible advice? His friends advise him to fly when circumstances flush him out. However, wisdom knows how to choose between standing or flying. Taking flight from a foundation is tempting during danger, but it is unwise. Wisdom recognizes the danger. The discerning assesses the situation and doesn’t flinch or fly.
Take refuge. Don’t escape. Don’t fly or flee.
“…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…” Psalm 11:2
Wisdom reminds us that a bird in flight to the mountain is laid bare to the wicked who pull their bowstrings back. The archer lays in wait. The bow is launched in the dark at those who have upright hearts. The warning here is that even the upright are prone to fear and wrong responses in the face of a broken world—especially when brokenness visits you up close. React or leave your post too quickly and arrows will fly.
“…if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3
To fly instead of staying in the Lord’s refuge is to abandon the safe foundation. It makes no sense. Except fear in the face of brokenness is so tempting, and sensibility is faulty at best. Ignore this tendency, and you’re set up for failure. If you abandon the foundation, you will destroy all confidence. David’s question, “What can the righteous do?,” resembles Peter’s question in John 6:68, “…Lord, to whom would we go?” Instead of flying like a bird, stand on the sure foundation.
Because confidence is yours.
“The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven…” Psalm 11:4
Confidence is born upon strong foundations. The immutable Lord is in his holy temple. He does not change. He is strong and trustworthy. Note the context—even in the face of adversity and bad advice, he does not change. His throne is in heaven. Holy. Righteous. Faithful.
“There are only two choices in every situation—submission to the lordship of Christ or going our own way. …There is no middle ground.” Jerry Rankin, In the Secret Place: A Pilgrimage Through the Psalms
No need to flee or fly.
“…judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace…behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.” William Cowper, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”
In a broken world, the Lord is our refuge. Whether your alarm comes from a tragedy or violence from the wicked, he is faithful to the righteous. He is righteous, and he can do nothing else. In that light, why would we fly or flee from such a foundation?
God loves to see our faith when it is tested. When the temptation to fly comes—and it will—he loves to see a righteous response. Faith and complete trust in him. Stand firm and do not flee.
Stand firm, do righteous deeds, and behold the face of your God. Refuse to fly to any mountain. Instead, stay fixed upon his foundation.
“For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.” Psalm 11: 7