Daily Devotional

June 28, 2020

Daybreak: Psalms 10:1 through 13:6

“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

In the early 1980s a series of earthquakes occurred in the Portland area, and my husband and I decided we should add earthquake coverage to our homeowner’s policy. We called our insurance company, and in a few days an appraiser came out to inspect our home. To our surprise, we were denied coverage! The company deemed the foundation of our three-story home not earthquake proof. 

The foundation looked solid enough. It was made from rocks two to three feet in length and about eighteen inches square that had been mortared together. The house was built in 1904, so it had weathered some storms and even gone through a number of small earthquakes without damage. However, the inspector concluded that those massive rocks would not provide a secure enough basis for the dwelling in event of a major quake. Clearly, good foundations are important!

In the spiritual realm, good foundations are even more vital. Our focus verse asks the question, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Sadly, the foundational principles of the Word of God are becoming less and less tolerated in our day. At an ever-accelerating pace, society is putting its stamp of approval on practices that just a few decades ago were not only frowned upon but were actually illegal. Homosexuality and same-sex marriages are increasingly accepted. Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide is more and more common. Abortion has been legalized and millions of innocent babies have been murdered as a result.

For over three hundred years, the moral code of the United States has been based on the absolute truths of Scripture. The Ten Commandments were the basis for identifying right and wrong behaviors in the nation’s laws. References to God and principles from His Word are inscribed on many of its monuments and national landmarks. However, in America today, morality based on Biblical truth has all but disappeared. The Ten Commandments have been removed from many public buildings. Prayer has been taken out of the schools. The debate rages as to whether “In God We Trust” should be removed from coins and the words “under God” taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance. The fact is, God’s Word has been rejected as the ultimate authority. The foundations are being systematically destroyed! 

It would be easy to look at these facts and feel hopeless. However, God’s power is not diminished by the changes in society. We must do as the psalmist did and take comfort in the fact that the Lord is in His holy Temple, and that “his eyes behold … the children of men” (Psalm 11:4). 

When law and order seems to be collapsing around us, faith in God can be our anchor. The knowledge that He is still in control of every situation will keep our hearts at peace and help us resist fear. Remember, we have the blessed assurance that one day — perhaps very soon — He will restore justice and goodness on this earth!

Background

Psalm 10

Psalm 10 has no title, and no author is cited, but most commentators agree it likely was composed by David. He was the author of Psalm 9, and many of the ancient manuscripts combine Psalms 9 and 10. Also, these verses continue the acrostic pattern established in the preceding psalm. The theme is God’s intervention in the time of oppression by the wicked.

The tone of Psalm 10 seems to portray God as being distant. The two questions which begin the passage indicate the concern of the psalmist: that the One who delivered their nation from bondage in Egypt has absented Himself and is no longer the Protector of Israel. 

Verses 2 through 11 provide a verbal portrait of the wicked man, who is controlled by his passions and rules by arrogance and ego. The first section describes what the wicked man thinks and says; the second part tells what he does. In verses 12-15, the psalmist called upon God to intervene and remember the plight of the defenseless. The request for God to “break thou the arm of the wicked” (verse 15) is a prayer that the evil man will lose his strength and cease from tyranny. The psalm’s concluding verses are a song of thanksgiving to the Lord, who will ultimately destroy the wicked and deliver the oppressed.

Psalm 11

This psalm was composed by David, and is inscribed to the chief Musician. Though there is no definitive record of the circumstances under which it was created, it is clear that David was in great distress. It may have been written during the hazardous period when David was serving in Saul’s court and experiencing the king’s jealous rages, or during the time of Absalom’s rebellion. Whatever the exact setting, David retained his firm faith in the Lord’s protection — the theme of this psalm is that God will defend the righteous. 

The phrase “Flee as a bird to your mountain” in verse 1 was probably a proverbial expression related to seeking shelter and safety. The hill country of the area, with its many caves and strongholds, was a natural retreat for fugitives. 

The psalm concludes with the assurance that God is present even amidst the chaos of this world, and although He allows the righteous to be tested, He will ultimately recompense the wicked. If perfect justice is not attained in this life, it will be in the next.

Psalm 12

Like Psalm 11, this psalm was composed by David and is inscribed to the chief Musician. The superscription “upon Sheminith” signifies “eighth” and may be an indicator that the psalm was to be played by octaves, or to be sung in a lower octave or bass range. Commentators identify this psalm as a lament designed to be sung either individually or in community. 

This psalm contrasts the arrogant and untruthful words of wicked men to the pure and true words of God, and implores God’s protection from treachery. Silver which has been refined seven times (verse 6) is without dross and thus very costly. Since the number seven frequently represents perfection in Scripture, David’s vivid simile clearly portrays God’s words as being pure and of great value.

Psalm 13

This psalm of lament, traditionally ascribed to David, may have been written while the psalmist was a hunted fugitive being pursued by Saul. It follows the typical pattern of despair, desire, and deliverance.

David began his lament with four questions: the first two center on God, and the second two relate to his own feelings. They reveal the psalmist’s impression that the Lord was absent. In verses 3-4, David offered up his petition requesting deliverance. In the final two verses, a complete reversal from the psalmist’s first plaintive cry is evident. The song concludes with a note of praise, in which David affirmed his trust in the mercy of God and His eventual salvation.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I.    Book I (1:1 — 41:13)
II.    Book II (42:1 — 72:20)
III.    Book III (73:1 — 89:52)
IV.    Book IV (90:1 — 106:48)
V.    Book V (107:1 — 150:6)

A Closer Look

  1. What three illustrations did the psalmist use in Psalm 11:6 to portray the wrath of God?
     
  2. Why do you think God allows times in our lives when He seems to be silent? What should we do in such times?
     
  3. What are some of the positive results of praising God even in a time of trouble?

Conclusion

Trust and confidence in God will hold us steady, even when it seems we are surrounded by evil. 

Reference Materials