I Take Refuge
Psalm 11:1-3 ESV
“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?’”
When we are truly following Jesus Christ with our lives, Satan will do everything he can to try to stop us, to get us discouraged, and to get us to give up and to run away. His goal is to dishearten and to defeat us in any which way he is able.
So, he will use other people against us, even other Christians, and even people in our own fellowships or in our own families and households. He knows how to get us where it hurts. And hurting us is his goal. For he wants us to “blow it.” He wants us to surrender to him.
And there are so many different ways he uses people against us, too. He gets them to sin against us, or to attack us verbally for our faith, or to try to trip us up with our words, or to try to confuse us or to manipulate us. Or he will use them to slander us, too.
One of his weapons is to try to confuse us by twisting our words in order to accuse us falsely of saying what we did not say. Or he will try to make us feel guilty for confronting sin and for calling it what it is, and so he will attack us by accusing us of being unforgiving.
Trough it all, through all the lying, the twisting of words, the false accusations, the sins committed against us, the attacks on our beliefs, and attempts at trickery, guilt trips, manipulations, and gaslighting, we are to remain steadfast in faith and not give up!
Even when we see all around us, and even within the gatherings of the church, all the immorality, all the wickedness, all the diluting of the gospel and the misrepresentations of Jesus and His Word, we must not surrender to the enemy, but we are to take refuge in the Lord.
Testing the Righteous
Psalm 11:4-5 ESV
“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.”
When we are faced with these difficulties mentioned, or others like them, we must not forget that the Lord is in his holy temple. He is still God. He is still on his throne. He is still sovereign over all he has made, and he is still in control. Nothing can happen to us outside of what he allows.
Thus, we must recognize that God is allowing us to go through these trials and tribulations for a purpose. And so we need to seek his face and his counsel in asking him what he wants us to learn and how he wants to mature us in our walks of faith through them.
For, the Lord does allow us to go through difficulties to test our faith, the purpose of which is to prove our faith as genuine, to mature us, to prune us, to purify us, to make us holy, to teach us perseverance, and to teach us reliance on God and not on ourselves, etc.
[Ro. 5:3-5; Phil. 3:7-11; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; 1 Pet. 4:12-17; 1 Thess. 3:1-5; Jas. 1:2-4; Matt. 5:10-12; Lu. 21:12-19; 2 Co. 1:3-11; Heb. 12:3-12]
Judgment on the Wicked
Psalm 11:6-7 ESV
“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.”
Even though the Lord uses the wicked to test his righteous ones, that does not mean he approves of what the wicked do. He does not. He is not on their side. Even though he allows the wicked to continue in their wicked deeds, for a time, he will condemn them to eternal damnation.
He will one day judge the wicked for their evil deeds unless they repent of their evil ways and turn to God in humility and in obedience to his commands. And repentance is not just feeling sorry you sinned or that you got caught, nor is it merely confession of sin.
Repentance is a change of heart and mind away from living in sin to now living in the power of God in holiness and righteousness for the glory and praise of God. It is dying with Christ to sin and walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
Some people who walk in wickedness and who want to appear righteous will try to convince you that they have repented of their sins, but it wasn’t repentance, because the heart did not change. The mind did not change. And so the defiant and deliberate sinful practices continued.
For, we are not made righteous in God’s sight by mere words said in a prayer or in a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to his righteousness. He died to deliver us from our slavery to sin, not to leave us in bondage.
“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” Rom 6:16 ESV
So, we can’t be slaves of sin and be servants of righteousness at the same time. Those the Lord considers to be the upright are those who are saying “No” to ungodliness and fleshly passions, and who are living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit 2:11-14).
Thus, the upright will see his face. We have eternal life with God because we are walking according to the Spirit, by the Spirit, and we are not walking (in practice) according to the flesh. But those who are walking (living, conducting their lives) according to the flesh will die in their sins.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6]
So, don’t be one who is serving the devil, and who is walking according to the flesh, and who is coming against the righteous because they are living for Jesus Christ. Turn your heart and your life to Jesus Christ today.
And, if you are one who the wicked is coming against in many of the ways mentioned here or in other ways less or more severe, do not give up on your faith and do not give in to Satan’s evil schemes against you. Find your refuge in God and let the Lord be your strength and support.
Awaken the Dawn
An Original Work / January 15, 2013
Based off Psalm 57 (NIV 1984)
O my God, have mercy on me!
In the Lord, my soul takes refuge.
In the shadow of Your wings, Lord,
I find shelter till the storms pass.
I cry out to my God Most High.
He fulfills His purpose for me.
He sent His Son to die for me,
So I could be saved.
I am in the midst of lions;
Men whose teeth are spears and arrows;
Whose tongues are sharp; words accusing.
They spread a net, my feet to catch.
They dug a pit, in hopes I’d fall.
O God, be exalted o’er all.
Let Your glory shine to all men,
So they may be saved.
Steadfast is my heart, O my God;
I will sing of all Your wonders.
Awake, my soul! Sing praise to God!
Early I will rise and praise Him!
I’ll praise God among the nations;
I will sing among the peoples.
God’s love reaches to the heavens,
So we may be saved.