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The Playlist - Psalm 11



Have you ever found yourself in the wilderness? I mean like literally in the wilderness. When I was kid I was a Royal Ranger and one of my very last merit badges was the primitive shelter badge, now this one was no joke. We had to go into the woods, and in our case this was the middle of West Virginia. We were only allowed to have what we were wearing and common things like a pocket knife then a sack lunch. We then had to build a shelter and spend the night in that shelter. They would partner you up with a couple of other students so you weren’t alone. So me and a friend of mine thought it would be funny to joke with the youngest guy in our group and tell him that the woods were full of bears.

Now throughout the course of the day when we were building the shelter out of a tree that had fallen and sticks that we collected it was all fun and games. But that night our persistence finally scared our young friend into backing out of the project and going back to the campsite, soon after the other guy dropped out because as much as he enjoyed picking on the younger guy, he was afraid of bears too. That left me alone in the woods, in some silly shelter, wondering where the nearest bear was. But there was no way I was going to go walking out in the woods, I was stuck there, scared and alone. I spent the whole night on high alert, focused on every sound, and there were plenty. Let me tell you, that verse in the Bible that says joy comes in the morning, had never been more real to me! I was so relieved to see sunrise and head back to the camp for some breakfast.

Looking back on that whole experience I can now see that those who were in charge of us were really not all that far away and they never would’ve let us go into bear infested woods by ourselves. But I also learned something more valuable than what that merit badge was trying to teach me. I learned that when I am alone in the wilderness, be it literal or figurative, God is always with me. I can bring my fear and emotion to Him.

I imagine if I would’ve written a psalm from that primitive shelter it might have gone something like this:


Lord why have you let all of my friends abandon me?

Why have they left me alone out here in the woods all alone?

I’m scared and alone but I know that you are here with me.

I love you Lord, never leave my side.


Tonight I want us to take a look at Psalm 11. This was a Psalm written in the middle of a national crisis by the King David, the greatest king of Israel. Nobody is certain what exactly was going on, or if David was even the king yet for that matter but we do know just from the Psalm that the situation was grave, life and death and David needed to be reminded of the promises of God over his life. David was already anointed King by God and he knew the promises of God, which is why fleeing was out of the question. David resolved to trust in God through the storm.

Wickedness appeared all around David and the moral foundations of the people were crumbling to the point that the national stability of the nation were in question. David’s friends and advisors had even urged David to flee Jerusalem because these evil people wanted to kill David. But David remained calm through the crisis, keeping his eyes on God. Lets look at the Psalm,

1 I trust in the Lord for protection.

So why do you say to me,

“Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety!

2 The wicked are stringing their bows

and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings.

They shoot from the shadows

at those whose hearts are right.

3 The foundations of law and order have collapsed.

What can the righteous do?”

4 But the Lord is in his holy Temple;

the Lord still rules from heaven.

He watches everyone closely,

examining every person on earth.

5 The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked.

He hates those who love violence.

6 He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked,

punishing them with scorching winds.

7 For the righteous Lord loves justice.

The virtuous will see his face.


When we look at verse 2, this could be taken both literal or figuratively,


The wicked are stringing their bows

and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings.

They shoot from the shadows

at those whose hearts are right.


David was dealing with people who hated him, who wanted to humiliate him and even kill him. I think, about any teenager can relate to this verse. Those who want to humiliate you, take advantage of you, talk bad about you. They are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows…of their computer screens and behind their cell phones, they shoot at those whose hearts are right.

My first reaction to reading this Psalm is, “Man, how relevant those emotions are…” While my experiences and David’s are very different, the emotions of betrayal and hurt are very real, and this is what David wrote to God. I can imagine in the desperation, David retreated to his quiet space with his journal, and he wrote to God, he poured out his emotions on the pages and spent time with his father. He told God the situation he was in, then he remembered the promises that God had given him.


4 But the Lord is in his holy Temple;

the Lord still rules from heaven.

He watches everyone closely,

examining every person on earth.

5 The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked.

He hates those who love violence.

6 He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked,

punishing them with scorching winds.

7 For the righteous Lord loves justice.

The virtuous will see his face.



David trusted in the Lord, and that was reflected in his prayers to God.

So after examining this Psalm, let’s look at a couple questions as we move forward in this series.


How are the Psalms relevant to me?


The Psalms are relevant, because they’re real. I love reading and studying the Psalms. At times you see something that makes you say, “Wow, is that okay that he said that to God?!” Like for example, If I told you that you weren’t allowed to bring your emotions to God, I would be a terrible youth pastor. If I told you that you weren’t allowed to bring your struggles to God, I would be a terrible youth pastor, If I told you that you had to clean yourself up before you approached God, I would be a terrible youth pastor,


A walk with Jesus is not a religion, it’s a relationship. Religion teaches that you have to do this, this and this in order to find yourself worthy of the God you are serving. A relationship says come as you are. You’ll grow and change in a relationship. A relationship with Jesus will bring you closer to Him


Can I write my own Psalms


The Psalms are the prayers/poetic expressions of ancient believers who brought their situations to God, These are the prayers of our ancestors who went before us. They are reminders of the faithfulness of God to, not just the author but the coming generations of believers. To you and to me. When God carries you through a situation, write it down and put it in your trophy room, never forget it, and the next challenge you face look back at what God did then, and trust that He is still the same God and He is faithful!

So the answer is YES! In fact I encourage you to get a journal and write your prayers to God!



These Psalms aren’t cheap. They’re the result of a deep need for the presence of God. It’s when we cry out to God because we need God when we see God move in powerful ways. The book of Psalms is full of examples of this very process. Move your faith in God to a relationship with God. Lot’s of people “Believe in God” but the Psalms push us to a relationship with God.

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