“Psalm Summaries, Psalms 11-15”Categories: Bulletin Articles
Psalm 11 is David’s appeal to God in a time when he fears that God has abandoned him. He feels that even if he flees like a bird to the mountain of God (which is where the hymn “Flee as a Bird” comes from), the wicked will shoot him down. He is helpless and powerless.
However, despite his powerlessness, he still trusts in the ultimate justice of God. He appeals to God to punish his wicked enemies according to their wickedness. He concludes by expressing the contrasting hope that the Lord will reward the righteous in His presence.
Psalm 12 sets out the spiritual struggle of David with people who are lying about him. In vs.1-2, he sets out the problem: flattering and double-tongued people who trust in the power of their lies. Vs. 3-4 appeal to God to judge those who sin with the tongue. In vs. 5-6, David predicts God’s rescue of the poor and needy from the liars who oppress them. He also contrasts the lies of the wicked with the pure speech of God. The psalm concludes in vs. 7-8 with an expression of hope in the protection of God and a condemnation of the wicked whose continuing presence makes God’s help necessary.
Psalm 13 is another psalm of lamentation from David in a time when God seems absent and his enemies are all too present. He wonders is God is going to forget and abandon him forever, giving glory to David’s enemies by default. David predicts that if things keep going in the same direction, his enemies will kill him and boast in his death. However, in the conclusion of the psalm, he remembers the graciousness of God’s past dealings and expresses the confidence that God will give him reason to rejoice this time too.
Psalm 14, also by David, presents a pessimistic perspective on the foolishness and wickedness of humankind. People everywhere doubt God’s existence and give themselves over to sin. God looks down from heaven, searching for one righteous man, but He can’t find even one. It’s enough to make one wonder if David was writing this in 2019!
However, David points out a problem with the wicked. In their oppression of the poor, they aren’t reckoning with God, who protects the poor. Sooner or later, God is going to make things right. The final verse of the psalm expresses the hope that He will do so soon.
Psalm 15 presents David’s take on a much more optimistic subject: what it takes to dwell in the presence of God. He tells us that God favors those who a) live righteous lives, b) are honest with themselves, c) don’t betray others, d) love the righteous and despise the wicked, e) keep their word under all circumstances, and f) don’t oppress the poor. Do these things, and God will sustain you.