Psalms 11




Psalms 11:1-2 says, “To the chief Musician, A psalm of David. In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart


Some men trust in themselves and their own abilities and their own strength. Some men trust in superstitions and fortune tellers. Some men trust in false gods. But a wise man will but His trust in the one true living God who created the heavens and the earth and who sent His only begotten Son Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of the world.


For the most part the people of this world who do not believe in Jesus will see those that do believe as a target. They will zero in on the Christians and attack their faith in any way that they can. They will try to get you to sin. They will try to get you to be like them.


Psalms 11:3 says, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The foundation is what everything is built upon. A strong foundation makes a strong building. A weak foundation means a building that will collapse.


Jesus Himself gave such a parable in Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore whosoever hearth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it


Another important verse in the Bible explains what the foundation is. It says in Isaiah 22:16, “Therefore thus saith the Lord, God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Also Ephesians 2:20 says, “And are build upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone


The corner stone of the foundation is Jesus Christ. The rest of the foundation is the Word of God. There is the written Word, and there is the living Word. Without these no man can have spiritual victory. The wicked have bent their bow. If you try to do what is right in life, you will find that you will become a target by all those who are doing the opposite. Perhaps the greatest cause of a weak foundation, in those who have Jesus as their cornerstone, is that they simply do not know and do not feed enough on the bread of life. It is true that you will fail because you are weak and you are a sinner. But it is also true that if you do fail, it is because you need to build up your foundation. If you fail, then somehow somewhere it means you failed to trust in Jesus and to rely upon His Word. If only we could be consistent at this, we would fail less.


Psalms 11:4-5 says, “The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven: His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.” In these verses the word “try” is used twice: once in reference to the children of men and once in reference to the righteous. If you are human, you are of course a child of man. The meaning of this phrase simply is referring to humanity, or the sinful corrupt flesh. There is a difference between being a child of man and being a righteous man, because a righteous man, though still garbed in the flesh has a new nature, a spiritual life, and the Holy Spirit of God dwells within their temple. God tries all men. The word “try” can simply mean to examine. But the way God tries the children of men and the way God tries the righteous are two very different things.


In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, He also divided the light from the darkness. God examines the hearts of men to see what is in them. Because even though men have a sinful nature they still have a free will and they have the power to choose light or darkness. God is examining the hearts of men seeking out those that are seeking Him.


Those that truly seek God will come to Jesus because Jesus is God. And Jesus is the chief cornerstone. Once you find Jesus then you are righteous. And once you are righteous then God is going to try you. But “trying” in verse 5 has a different meaning than in verse 4.


Zechariah 13:9, “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God


Once you become a righteous man through the righteousness of Christ, you are in a sense now like Jesus when He walked on this earth. You have God inside of you but you still have the sinful flesh. Therefore, there is more righteousness to be had and it will come through God trying you. Why does God do this?


Verse 4 of Psalms 11 says that “the LORD is in his holy temple”. In the Old Testament great care and detail and planning was put into the building of the temple. We know this from the book of Exodus and the instructions that God gave Moses. After all, the dwelling place of the presence of God is a special place and a Holy place. We know now that the temple of God in the New Testament is the body of the believer. Also that an even greater care, and planning, and building goes into the work of this temple. It is no wonder that God tries the righteous. Here the word “try” does not mean “try” in the sense of tempt to do wrong or punish, but it means to purify and to improve in the same way silver and gold is made pure.


The last part of verse 5 however says that the wicked and him that loveth violence God hateth. We know from the book of Romans that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. But apparently there is a distinction between being a sinner and being a wicked person. Light and darkness do not mingle. And in the same sense you either have the righteousness of Christ or you do not. The Bible emphasizes that God is Love. The Bible emphasizes the longsuffering and the goodness of God. And sometimes we will hear people say how God loves the sinner but not the sin. But here in the last part of Verse 5 It says that God hates the wicked and him that loveth violence. It doesn’t say that God tries the wicked, but that He hates. Who is the most wicked person in this world? It is not the one who sins the most, but the one who never repents. The most wicked person is the one who is the most opposed to Jesus and the one most in rejection to God through the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. There may indeed be nothing in this life closer to being in hell than to be hated by God. This does not mean necessarily that God is going to cast lightning bolts at you, but it does mean that He is not going to try you. In the eternal fires of Hell those that must suffer there are in the same state: they will never improve as a person. They will never be tried as silver or gold, and God is not involved in their existence.  It is possible in this life to become hated of God. God’s throne is in heaven. His eye lids try the children of men.


Notice these verses also mention that God hates violence. This might seem strange to say when we consider the harsh times of the Old Testament. Some people in this world that don’t know God even look at the Old Testament and the harsh punishments for breaking the Old Testament law and even the violence that God used on nations and even His chosen nation at times for purposes of judgment. Yet here it says that God hates violence. After All Jesus is the prince of peace and there will be no world peace until Jesus the King of Kings brings it. The truth about the violence that exists in men is that it all stems from a resistance to the truth and the will of God: the greater the resistance the greater the violence. Resistance itself to God and His Spirit is seen by God as a great act of violence. The mis-use of the human will is one of the primary causes of violence in the world.  


Perhaps the greatest example of violence is the story of Jesus and how the King of Kings set aside His power and glory and walked the earth humbly as a man. He came bearing love and forgiveness and came to die on the cross for the sins of the World. Why did Jesus spend 33 years on the earth? One reason was perhaps that because God so loved the world he wanted to come himself in person to us and teach us His Word. The most important teachings of the Bible God gave us Himself while He was on the earth. Of course, we know the story of Jesus ends in violence on the cross. One thing is for sure, those who love violence, God hates.


Psalms 11:6-7, “Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright God tries the righteous but He hates the wicked. Instead of trying the wicked there are 3 things used here to describe what God is going to do to them: “snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest”.


The word “snare” is the word used in reference to a hunter catching a wild animal like a bird. It brings to mind the saying “free as bird.” The wicked who are ‘free’ of a conscience, and who are ‘free’ of any submission to the will of God, believe they are free to do whatsoever they desire. But they are wrong. There is only one destiny that awaits them: a snare. Perhaps that is why, when we think of a prison and when we think of all the things that seem wrong about prison, the concept itself is just. Some men are so wicked they deserve to be in prison. Some men are so wicked they must be taken out of society so they cannot wreak havoc upon their fellow man. They have become like wild animals who must be taken in a snare. Of course, there are many other kinds of snares or traps. All sin, every sin, leads to only snares because it is only as Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) There is truth and there is sin, and all sin is a snare. Any man who turns away from Christ will fall into a snare.


The next phrase says “fire and brimstone.” These words mean “judgment” and describe for us the place of judgment, the lake of fire. Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death


There is a difference between hell and the lake of fire. A good comparison would be that of a prison when a person is arrested for a crime. When you are arrested for a crime, you go to the county jail. Once you go through the court system and are convicted and found guilty, then you are sent to the penitentiary. This is the difference between hell and the lake of fire. Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment.” This verse is referring to the final judgment at the great white throne. This judgment has not happened yet. Therefore, those who die, and having rejected Jesus, will find themselves in hell unto the day of judgment where on that day they will be cast into the lake of fire.


Why fire and why brimstone?  In the days of Noah when God looked down upon the earth and saw how wicked man had become he destroyed the world with water, not fire. But in the final days at the end of this age when Christ returns, He will destroy the world with fire. Why water the first time and fire the second?  This is because water and fire both symbolize something.


Jesus is the water of life. Revelation 21:6, “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Water symbolizes Salvation. Water washes and Water cleanses. In the days of Noah God could have simply destroyed the world and made a new one. He did not do that. He flooded the world. But we know that the next judgment upon the world will be one of fire, and He will destroy the world.


Looking at the human timetable of the beginning of the world to the end of the world, it can be compared to the life of an individual man. The first judgment is Christ on the Cross. He is the water of life. But for those who reject Him there is the final judgment by fire and brimstone. God is a God of equal opportunity. The way that He is going to handle this world is fair. His judgment is just. At the end no man will be able to say, “I didn’t have enough opportunities or I did not have enough chances for mercy.”  Why then will God destroy His own creation? God gave the world to men to be the keeper of it, and in the end Man is going to utterly fail like he always does because man is sinful and wicked. Therefore, God is going to utterly destroy creation and make a new one.


Why fire? Fire symbolizes the Holiness of God. God is Holy, and therefore God must judge sin. Another reason perhaps that fire is used in the final judgment is because the nature of fire is to consume all that it touches. That is what fire does. When something is filthy and disease-infested, there is nothing more effective to eliminate it than fire. Water washes clean, but fire consumes. Deuteronomy 4:24, “For the LORD Thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.”


Fire destroys. For those who reject Christ and reach the spiritual state of never improving, never become more like the image of God, their destiny is to face a constant state of destruction. It is no surprise then that God is a consuming fire. Anything filthy, anything dirty, is consumed by the flames of His presence.


Of the three phrases used here in Psalms chapter 11, perhaps the most attention should be given to these words, “fire and brimstone.” When God wanted to get Moses’ attention, He appeared as a burning bush, a bush on fire. If you see a fire, it will get your attention. Then pay attention to these words, this description.


Isaiah 30:33, “For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a steam of brimstone, doth kindle it


Of course there is another kind of fire, the fire of God’s Word. Jeremiah 20:9, “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name, But His Word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay


The Bible gives a considerable amount of detail as to what the final judgment is going to be like and as to what the destiny of those who reject Jesus is going to be: fire and brimstone. God is fair, God is more than fair. God is very merciful and loving. He wants people to see the judgment that awaits them if they reject Christ.


Genesis 19:24 says, “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven.” In the days of Abraham God sent fire and brimstone to destroy these cities. In the days of the tribulation God will also send brimstone.  Isaiah 34:8-9, “For it is the day of the LORD’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch


Perhaps the brimstone in both of these occurrences is the very same brimstone that fills the lake of fire. Even today the place where the city of Sodom and Gomorrah once stood lies in waste. If these words, if the Word does not touch your heart, then perhaps you need to go stick your head in a volcano to get a better idea of what fire and brimstone is like. Another way of saying it is like this: Warning! Warning, God trieth the righteous but to the wicked and him that loveth violence: fire and brimstone.


The last phrase is an horrible tempest. This phrase “an horrible tempest” is translated in many other places in the Old Testament to mean, “To provoke God to anger.” A tempest is a powerful storm, like a hurricane. When a powerful storm strikes, it can wipe out a city, destroying buildings and homes and taking lives.  Fortunately if you trust in Jesus you don’t ever have to worry about the work of your own hands being destroyed and going to waste. Neither do you have to worry about your life ending prematurely. There are things to suffer in life, especially if you do what is right. But there are also things to suffer if you do what is wrong and these can be avoided. Those who are wicked are in danger every day of “an horrible tempest


Psalms 11:7 says, “For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; His countenance doth behold the upright.” When we think of names of God and descriptions of God, one of the first ones that should come to mind is: the righteous LORD. “Righteous,” of course, means “just and lawful.” God is good, and everything that God does is good whether it be done by water or by fire.


God told Moses that no man could see His face and live. Yet even though in this life we cannot behold the face of God we can have God turn His face upon us. The implication is that God is giving you His full attention, even special attention. God loves righteousness, and therefore those that walk uprightly, those that trust in Him, He is going to treat much differently than everyone else in the world. You will become something very special to God if you become righteous through Jesus Christ and if you walk uprightly. You will become so special that God will behold you with His countenance. Another way of saying this is draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.






Copyright; 2011 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved