God is on His Throne

In the Lord I take refuge.
    How then can you say to me:
    ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain.

The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
    his eyes examine them.

Psalm 11:1,4 NIVUK

Psalm 11 is another Psalm written by David, and it looks as though he is once again on the run from his enemies. It might have been Saul, who chased him around Palestine for years, or it might have been in the time of his son Absalom’s rebellion. In the first verse, David seems to be odds with his advisers who were telling him to head for the hills to find safety there. But David wasn’t afraid of his enemies because he trusted in the Lord for his protection. Wisely, though, he was keeping his head down and maintained a low profile, waiting for God to deal with the situation. In verse 4, David points out that God is still on His throne, keeping an eye on everyone. 

Living in 21st Century Britain is a challenge. There has been so much societal change over the past few years that we might be forgiven for questioning sometimes if God is still on His throne. And understandably there are many anxious people around, wondering what the future holds. People will give us all sorts of advice about how to deal with change. And there are some who will seek medication to help them deal with their anxiety. But there is only one way to remain unshakeable as the world shakes around us, and that is with our feet firmly established on the solid Rock, which is Christ. In Matthew 7:24-25 Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Because the wise man followed and applied Jesus’ teaching, he was unshakeable when the storms of life blew against him. The only way we will survive the changes in society is through our relationship with God. But you might be thinking, “Why does God allow me to experience so many problems in my life?” You might be experiencing financial difficulties, ill-health, family problems, and so on. Sometimes the list of problems seems endless. And to add to our apparent woes, Jesus said that we would experience troubles in this world. He said in John 16:33, “… In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So God is still on His throne and Jesus has overcome the world. What else do we need? As we encounter the problems in life, we face into them with Jesus, the Overcomer, at our side. Step by step, problem by problem, issue by issue, our faith and trust in God grows. Even though David was in big trouble, his narrative in Psalm 11 was almost detached because he knew his God, and the protection that He supplied. So He could almost adopt the position of looking on while God did His stuff. We too can be onlookers as we overcome our storms in life with God at our side.

Yo-Yo

“Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens! May Your glory shine over all the earth.
My enemies have set a trap for me. I am weary from distress. They have dug a deep pit in my path, but they themselves have fallen into it.”
Psalms‬ ‭57:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Psalm 57 is a “Yo-Yo” set of verses. David’s thoughts, captured in this Psalm, seem to bounce between praise to God and despair about his predicament. He’s on the run again, and Saul nearly catches him this time. You can just imagine him and his men holding their breath as Saul’s soldiers pass by. And we read that Saul was even within reach of David as he “relieved himself” in the same cave in which David was hiding.

In today’s Western society it is difficult to relate to the dangers David faced into, almost on a daily basis, as he tried to keep out of Saul’s way. Most of us do not experience threats to our lives. But we do experience difficulties in which God’s help is just as important as it was in David’s circumstances. As I write, the fallout from Brexit and the pandemic are manifesting themselves in all sorts of societal problems. Security of food and road fuel supplies are under threat. Energy prices have rocketed. We are constantly being told that the NHS cannot cope with the demands being made of it. People are anxious and nervous about the future. Their worlds have been shaken and there seems to be no remedy in sight. So what do we do? We do what David did. Share our worries and concerns with our loving Heavenly Father, and concentrate of praising Him. Verse 5, “Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens! May your glory shine over all the earth” is repeated again in verse 11. Why? Because that was David’s heart. No matter what he was facing into, the important bit was putting God in His rightful place.

So are we anxious today? 1 Peter 5:7 reads, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” Jesus said in John 16:33, “…Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” We have a choice – accept God’s loving care as He “overcomes the world” or worry ourselves into an early grave. Stark language I know but David went on to become Israel’s greatest king. What will we achieve as God’s overcomers?