Psalm 11: David's Confidence

This psalm was probably written during the first phase of David's life when he had become a soldier living at the court of King Saul. With David under his watchful eye Saul's jealousy had slowly turned into fits of rage eventually spiraling out of control. He let it be known he wanted David killed but done secretly because the nation adored David as a war hero. David learned of the plot from his friends at court, the closest being Saul's son, Jonathan. They advised him to escape and flee to the mountains.


David refuses and in v. 1 he says to them: “In the LORD I put my trust. How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to the mountain?” While he knows some soldiers loyal to Saul will try to kill him, he states his trust in the LORD. This is a recurring theme in David's writings. It is a simple statement but to believe it and make it an integral part of life day after day and in different situations requires a close personal relationship and daily conversation with God. David evidently had that. If he didn't he might have taken his friend's advice and let their fear for him become his and betray his trust in God. He had learned to trust in the providence of God early in life. This psalm encourages us to do the same.

The next question seems to be asked almost in despair. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” If the basic principles of truth, moral righteousness and justice are thrown out by those who rule, what can good people do? In the book of 1 Samuel you sense the frustration David felt in doing the right thing but getting nowhere. The Bible tells us in chapter 9 that Saul was a tall, handsome and “choice” young man and loved by the people when he became king, but over time he made serious errors in judgment that showed and when rebuked became petulant and full of excuses. In the end he became a tyrant. Eventually David realized he was never going to get justice or be able to trust Saul and for years he was constantly on the run from Saul's army. But when David heard of Saul and Jonathan's death it is evident that David never hated but always had a respect for Saul and a deep love for Jonathan. His lament and requiem for them is in 2 Samuel 1. It is called the “Song of the Bow.”

In v.4 David shows his faith and confidence in God. “The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD's throne is in heaven, His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.” Spurgeon wrote: “God narrowly inspects their actions, words and thoughts. As men, when intently and narrowly inspecting some very minute object, almost close their eyelids to exclude every other object, so will the Lord look all men through and through.” V.5 tells us “He tests the righteous” or He puts the righteous to the proof, but He hates the wicked and those who love violence, describes their end and what will be the portion of their cup. Compare it with the portion of the cup of the righteous in Ps. 16:5. It is different!

David believed justice would be served, because he knew God was a fair and just God. What has been said many times and in many ways by God's children was as true then as it is today; “It will all come right some day.” “For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness,” or as one translation says, “He loves acts of righteousness.” God loves to see us trusting Him and by our actions show this trust. This Psalm encourages believers to have confidence in our just God while not knowing the outcome of our trials and testings. David is an example of spiritual courage in the face of great uncertainly.

Charles Simeon wrote; “The Psalms are a rich repository of experimental knowledge. David at the different periods of his life, was placed in almost every situation in which a believer, whether rich or poor, can be placed; and in these heavenly compositions he delineates all the workings of the heart. He introduces, too, the sentiments and conduct of the various persons who were accessory either to his troubles or his joys; and then puts before us a compendium of all that is passing in the hearts of men throughout the world.”