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Psalm 11 – Treasury of David Commentary

I thought this might be helpful since there was some question as to my explanation of Psalm 11. Mine doesn’t compare to Spurgeon’s by any means, but it is not different in the gist.

Psalm 11

1 In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
4 The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
5 The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

This is quite long because it goes verse by verse and includes several different notes from other preachers.  Well worth reading, but I’ll just give a few quotes.

“Treasury of David” – Psalm 11 by Charles H. Spurgeon

… When Satan cannot overthrow us by presumption, how craftily will he seek to ruin us by distrust! He will employ our dearest friends to argue us out of our confidence, and he will use such plausible logic, that unless we once for all assert our immovable trust in Jehovah, he will make us like the timid bird which flies to the mountain whenever danger presents itself.

“Jehovah’s throne is in the heavens;” he reigns supreme. Nothing can be done in heaven, or earth, or hell, which he doth not ordain and over-rule. He is the world’s great Emperor. Wherefore, then, should we flee? If we trust this King of kings, is not this enough? Cannot he deliver us without our cowardly retreat? Yes, blessed be the Lord our God, we can salute him as Jehovah-nissi; in his name we set up our banners, and instead of flight, we once more raise the shout of war.

Look at the black mark upon the faces of our persecutors, and we shall not run away from them. If God is in the quarrel as well as ourselves, it would be foolish to question the result, or avoid the conflict. Sodom and Gomorrah perished by a fiery hail, and by a brimstone shower from heaven; so shall all the ungodly. They may gather together like Gog and Magog to battle, but the Lord will rain upon them “an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone:” Ezekiel 38:22.

Are we tempted to put our light under a bushel, to conceal our religion from our neighbours? Is it suggested to us that there are ways of avoiding the cross, and shunning the reproach of Christ? Let us not hearken to the voice of the charmer, but seek an increase of faith, that we may wrestle with principalities and powers, and follow the Lord, fully going without the camp, bearing his reproach. Mammon, the flesh, the devil, will all whisper in our ear, “Flee as a bird to your mountain;” but let us come forth and defy them all. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” There is no room or reason for retreat. Advance! Let the vanguard push on! To the front! all ye powers and passions of our soul. On! on! in God’s name, on! for “the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”


We don’t have to flee from the enemy but we can stand strong with the Lord as our refuge.  Now that does not mean we take sin lightly.  There are many ways to stand firm without risking falling into sin.  (We’ll look at some ways later.)

But let the Light shine in a dark world.

Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)
14  “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

The disciples did not spread the Gospel to the world by running away, but by advancing forward with the Gospel.  Not with Conservatism.  Not with Moral Values.  Not with Political leverage.  But by sharing the Gospel with sinners.

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.



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Refuge In The Lord

Better to take refuge in the Lord than in our own schemes or the schemes of man. The Lord will protect His own and be a shield for them in the day of trouble.  The Lord will protect His own from the wicked who seek to harm.  We are to live our lives in the Lord, not man.

Ruth 2:12 (ESV)  The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”

2 Samuel 22:31-33 (ESV)
31 This God— his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
32 “For who is God, but the Lord?  And who is a rock, except our God?
33 This God is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless.

Psalms 7:1-2 (ESV)
1 O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;  save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
2 lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.

Psalms 18:2-3 (ESV)
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

Psalms 31:1-4 (ESV)
1 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;  let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!
2 Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
3 For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
4 you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge.

Psalms 34:6-10 (ESV)
6  This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
7  The angel of the Lord  encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!
10  The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Psalms 37:40 (ESV) The Lord helps them and delivers them;  he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Psalms 71:1-4 (ESV)
1 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame!
2 In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me!
3 Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
4  Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.

Psalms 91:2-10 (ESV)
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5  You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge—
10  no evil shall be allowed to befall you,  no plague come near your tent.

Psalms 94:22-23 (ESV)
22 But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.
23 He will bring back on them their iniquity and wipe them out for their wickedness; the Lord our God will wipe them out.

Psalms 118:5-9 (ESV)
5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.
6  The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
7  The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
8  It is better to take refuge in the Lord  than to trust in man.
9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord  than to trust in princes.



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Fleeing to the Lord – Psalm 11

If Sodom is all around us, even in secluded areas and our heart to some extent, how do we flee Sodom?  As I said in the post yesterday, we are to flee to the Lord.  All this time of study and just yesterday I found this Psalm.  Actually it wasn’t lost, but the meaning became clearer to me.  Notice this Psalm does not mention Sodom by name but who can miss the reference to Sodom especially in verse 6 “rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup”.

Psalms 11:1-7 (ESV)

1 In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
4 The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
5 The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Psalms 11:1 (ESV) In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,

The Psalmist David is amazed that he is being advised to flee to the mountains.  His refuge is in the Lord, not in the safety of the mountains.  There is no reason to despair when we take refuge in the Lord. The Lord is on His Throne (verse 4), why should David flee?


Psalms 11:2-3 (ESV)

2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

In verses 2-3, David’s advisers warn him that the wicked are seeking to destroy him.  The wicked have destroyed the foundations and there was nothing left that the righteous could do.  Oh, how many times have we heard that!  There is no hope, the world will only get worse, America is to far destroyed to turn back now, it is useless to witness to them, they are too far gone ….

Yet David rebukes his advisers in verse 4.


Psalms 11:4 (ESV) The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.

The Lord is on His Throne and in His Temple; essentially, David is saying the Lord is still in charge.  If we today could still remember that the Lord is on His Throne and is ruling the world from there.  There is nothing to fear, the Lord is watching all.  Is not most of our fear and worry due to forgetting that the Lord is in charge of all, even the wicked for destruction? (Proverbs 16:4)

The Lord will hear His own.  But are His own crying out to Him?  (Genesis 18:20, Psalm 88:1)  It would be good to read the whole of Psalms 18, but here are some portions that apply to Psalms 11.

Psalms 18:6-17 (ESV)

6 In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
7 Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry.
8 Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him.

12 Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
13 The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.

16 He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.
17 He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.

The Lord will hear the cries of the righteous to come in judgment on the wicked and rescue the righteous.


Psalms 11:5 (ESV) The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

The Lord may test His own but He is still Sovereign and will work all things to the good of His own.  (Romans 8:28)  Yet the wicked and violent should tremble at the wrath and hate from the Lord.  Look at the punishment decreed for the wicked in verse 6.


Psalms 11:6 (ESV) Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.

This is the same as what Sodom received.  The same as what will be the fate of all who reject the Lord.

Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,
21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Revelation 21:8 (ESV) But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”


Psalms 11:7 (ESV) For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

But the Lord loves those who do righteousness, they shall see His face.

1 John 3:2 (ESV) Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV) For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.


We aren’t to flee to the hills but to flee to the Lord.



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Louis Bourgeois – Old 100th Tune Writer

Here is another history lesson on the music wars in the church, of the 1500’s style. This poor man, Louis Bourgeois, gave us the tune to the Old 100th but was essentially run out of town because he dared change the tunes to some familiar Psalms.

Technically though the tune we call the Old 100th was actually written by Bourgeois for Psalm 134. It wasn’t until “All People That on Earth Do Dwell,” taken from Psalm 100, was written by William Kethe that the tune became known as the Old 100th.

All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.

The Lord, ye know, is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make;
We are His folk, He doth us feed,
And for His sheep He doth us take.

O enter then His gates with praise;
Approach with joy His courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless His Name always,
For it is seemly so to do.

For why? the Lord our God is good;
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.

To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
The God Whom Heaven and earth adore,
From men and from the angel host
Be praise and glory evermore.

Later that same tune was used for the song, “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow,” which we often call it “The Doxology”. It was written by Thomas Ken.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

As commonly as we know this tune, writing music tunes wasn’t so easy back in the 1500’s. You actually had to have a license to write a tune!

“Louis Bourgeois is the one most responsible for the tunes in the Genevan Psalter, the source for the hymns of both the Reformed Church in England and the Pilgrims in America. In the original versions by Bourgeois, the music is monophonic, in accordance with the dictates of John Calvin, who disapproved not only of counterpoint but of any multiple parts; Bourgeois though did also provide four-part harmonizations, but they were reserved for singing and playing at home. Many of the four-part settings are syllabic and chordal, a style which has survived in many Protestant church services to the present day.

Of the tunes in the Genevan Psalter, some are reminiscent of secular chansons, others are directly borrowed from the Strasbourg Psalter; The remainder were composed by successively Guillaume Franc, Louis Bourgeois and Pierre Davantès. By far the most famous of Bourgeois’ compositions is the tune known as the Old 100th.Unfortunately, he fell foul of local musical authorities and was sent to prison on December 3, 1551 for changing the tunes for some well-known psalms “without a license.” He was released on the personal intervention of John Calvin, but the controversy continued: those who had already learned the tunes had no desire to learn new versions, and the town council ordered the burning of Bourgeois’s instructions to the singers, claiming they were confusing. Shortly after this incident, Bourgeois left Geneva never to return: … “ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loys_Bourgeois


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