Why do we not “flee like a bird” when we are afraid? Why will we face the adversary or the difficulty or the fear, even though everything within us longs to run away?
As I read this psalm, David begins with an answer to a taunting enemy or with a reply to a well-meaning advisor: “In the LORD I take refuge.” For David and for us, this settles the matter. “In the LORD I take refuge,” and so fear subsides. The threat may be both real and ferocious, but I have taken my stand: “In the LORD I take refuge.” Away with your temptations to flight!
When conflict arises, those of the world most often choose a different course. I know that when I was of the world, my preferred course was to flee the conflict. If things got difficult for me, it was time to leave. And so those who are of the world “flee like a bird to the mountain,” away from those who cause them pain. They do this for two main reasons: first, they do not know the LORD and have no place of refuge in Him, but second, they are selfish and do not care who else becomes a casualty, as long as they flee away unscathed.
Back to the psalm, notice that the threat to David is very real and potentially lethal (11:2). There are wicked men with sharp arrows fitted to bent bows ready to shoot in the dark with the intent to kill. The question implied at the start of the psalm is now posed explicitly: “If the very foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” For those who are orphans and who do not have the LORD as refuge and as heavenly Father, to stand firm in the battle is madness. But for the righteous, “The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven (11:4).” The LORD is the sovereign ruler of the universe and He has authority over every outcome. This is the One who is the refuge of the righteous. Therefore, I will strive to courageously stand firm against the adversity and trust the LORD. He reigns!
SDG rmb 3/6/2020