The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them. The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. (Psalm 11:4-5)
[The book of psalms is our songbook of life—in celebration or grief, in confidence or confusion, in joy or anger or despair. I invite you to read and reflect on these songs of life wherever YOU are this week. Read the psalm, read my reflection below, then consider posting and sharing your own observations at the bottom of the page.Today’s devotion is adapted from a post on October 18, 2018]
“Watching and Weighing”
We’re in the midst of post-season October baseball, and so a Yogi Berra quote is a fitting way for this lifelong baseball fan to start our Thirsty Thursday this week. The great and quotable Yankee catcher once quipped, “You can observe a lot by just watching.” Simply profound…
Psalm 11 is all about watching. David begins his song with a declaration, “In the Lord I take refuge.” It’s his confident answer to the question that follows in verse 2, “Don’t you see what’s happening? The bad guys are winning! What can the good guys possibly do about it?” (my own translation). David’s questioner, real or hypothetical, is watching (you can observe a lot that way). And he seems to have come to his own conclusions—fighting doesn’t seem to be getting us anywhere; maybe it’s time to flee to higher ground! Implied in his question is the assumption that David must not be seeing what he’s seeing.
But there’s someone else who’s watching all of this. “The Lord observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them.” (vs. 4) That word translated here as “examine” from the original Hebrew language, can also be translated “to test,” or “to weigh.” Not only does God see what’s happening, He is continually weighing and testing both the wicked and the righteous through it all. God is watching what we’re watching, but He is seeing a whole lot more than we can see!
God sees the ones who put their faith in Him even when their faith is put to the test. God sees the ones who are frightened or frustrated by life’s testing and He invites them into the safety of His shelter. And God sees the wicked—those who love violence—and has a very different plan for them. “On the wicked He will reign fiery coals and burning sulfur” (vs. 6). Yikes! God is watching and weighing!
But then David makes one more observation at the end of his song. “For the Lord is righteous, He loves justice; the upright will see His face” (vs. 7). Now David turns the tables. God is surely watching and weighing everyone, yes. But if we are upright—if we are truly seeking Him—we will “see His face.” Perhaps that is why David has such confident faith in the face of adversity. When we see our righteous Lord seated on his heavenly throne, the powers of this world pale in comparison. As another songwriter would observe many centuries later, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” (Read Hebrews 12:1-3)
Yes, you can observe a lot by just watching! God is in His holy temple, but He is also right here with us! He invites us to watch and weigh who HE is, even as HE is watching and weighing US. So, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Find in Him the only life worth living…share His life in your world…and watch what happens. Stay thirsty for Him, friends!