In my devotions today, I read Psalm 11 where David declares, “In the Lord I take refuge.” On that fact, he then says to those in despair over the wickedness around them, “How then can you say to me: ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?’ ”
The souls of Noah, Lot, and the prophets were vexed over the oppressive, leavening growth of wickedness—where the wicked freely strut about and honor what is vile among men (Ps.12:8). Are your souls vexed every day over what’s happening to our nation and the world? Are we not tempted to flee to our mountains and hide, detach from society, grow our own livestock, gardens, and run from watching the foundations of our nation be destroyed? What can the righteous do about it?
David’s answer is simple. In THE LORD we take refuge. The Lord is in His holy temple (the church), AND the Lord is STILL on His heavenly throne (Ps. 11:4). Like Asaph in Psalm 73, Jeremiah (12), Habakkuk (1), Job (21, 24), and Jesus in Matthew 23:37-39, David was fully aware of his hostile surroundings toward God and himself. We live in a similar world today that will grow darker before it gets lighter. We can choose to understand this, but not be in despair about it. Paul said to get away from the immoral, the greedy, the swindlers and idolaters in this life (flee to our mountain), we’d have to leave this world altogether (1 Cor. 5:10). But David understood it was all temporal, not eternal. It’s happening, yes, but won’t go unpunished (Psalm 11:5-7; Psalm 73:16-28).
My hope, my trust, my refuge in life−in a dark and lost world−is through an intimate, trusting relationship with God. Therefore, I can have daily joy though my soul is troubled. Yes, my soul hates iniquity, yes, I am vexed, disturbed and weep for the victims of the wicked. But my refuge can be found through “being about my Father’s business” and find joy in the midst of sorrow. If I only focus on what’s wrong in this world, or if I only put my hope in the next presidential election, then I put my trust in the arm of flesh, resulting in disillusion, despair, and exceeding disappointment.
David was surrounded daily by enemies of God’s kingdom, more than we could imagine. So how did he cope with it? The Lord was his refuge. He held his ground, stayed where God had placed him, and ruled by an eternal perspective in the midst of darkness.
Though we are vexed, do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Though we are vexed, rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice (Philippians 4:4). Though we are vexed, we are the ones who will inherit everlasting joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away (Isaiah 35:10).