When It Is Chaotic, Who Do We Trust?

Psalm 11.

Written by King David, its initial verses implied a murderous attempt on his life, either during King Saul’s reign or subsequent to his own succession to the throne (Ps 11:1-3). This Psalm of Trust (c.f., Ps 23; Ps 27; Ps 46) is divided into two segments: a statement of trust followed by faithless advice (vv. 1-3), and a statement of trust in response to the faithless advice (vv. 4-7).

Despite his security in the Lord, the situational desperation appears ominous, as David is advised to immediately flee to the mountain; the place where he had probably found refuge in the past (Ps 11:1-2; c.f., Ps 121), where the fleeing bird imagery evokes a sense of homelessness and isolation. In fact, his authority over his kingdom was crumbling and there was probably some uncertainty as to whom he could trust among his commanders and courtiers to remedy the state of affairs (Ps 11:3). On rare occasions, suffering has an unenviable consequence of destabilising the pillars we have built around our lives, and it is exactly at these points in time that we realise what is Important or insignificant to us, who we can or cannot trust, perhaps even discovering who we really are or have become! When life appears to be falling apart, it is time to humbly gain a Christ-centred perspective that will see us through ‘the debris’ around us.

When our lives seem to be unravelling, bear in mind that God is still in charge; He has not fallen off His throne; His fidelity and power do not change and He sees everything in the on-going situation (Ps 11:4). Since all trials have their origins in God and they are meant to test us (1Peter 1:7-9; Rom 5:3-5), the implication is that our response trajectory will be indicative of our faith or lack of it in God’s omniscience; either Yahweh is God or we are still on our own throne! Although such unhinging from the norm are mostly quite discomforting, God’s purpose in putting us through the mill is to consistently discipline and instruct us and to strengthen our faith (Ps 11:4; c.f., Matt 10:29-31; Rom 8:28-29; Eph 2:10). It is distinctive to note that God, our personal LORD, tests both the wicked and righteous (Ps 11:5), and when the righteous have no way of righting a wrong in the face of abject wickedness and an abuse of power, the outcome of our life will rest entirely in the hands of our righteous Judge (c.f., Rom 12:19-21). Unambiguously though, God pronounces that He hates those who sought violent ways to accomplish their goals, stating that He will ensnare them and judge them eventually (Ps 11:5-6). Not unlike what happened to Job, some tests that come alongside will plunge us into a personal review of what or who buttress our life? And if we discover that our faith is misplaced, we need to take corrective measures to refocus in order to resume serving the living God.

As our righteousness is in Christ, He becomes our refuge; enabling us to ‘behold His face’ (Ps 11:7) and to be confident of His presence wherever we are. This relationship becomes particularly critical as we seek, this side of heaven, the city (i.e., the kingdom) that cannot be shaken Whose builder is God (c.f., Heb 11:10; Heb 12:25-29). As the Saviour of our soul, our confession of trust in God’s righteousness enables us to embrace the hope that we will ‘see His face’ as we entrust our future to Him. Therefore, positionally, being in Christ is where we are safest.