A Matter of Perspective
How then can you say to me …“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:1, 3
Recently I was challenged to choose a word for the year—a word that represents my goals for 2016. After several days of prayerful consideration, I selected perspective. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, perspective is the “capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance.” Achieving my goals—spiritual, emotional, interpersonal, physical, and professional ones—will only be possible if I have the right perspective.
Although the word perspective is never used in the Book of Psalms, having a godly perspective is the theme of many of the psalms, including Psalm 11. In it, David contrasts two perspectives. First, David gave the viewpoint of those around him. They told him to flee like a bird to his mountain hideaway because his enemies were determined to destroy him. They assumed there was nothing else he could do when the foundation on which he had relied was crumbling (vv. 1-3).
That counsel may sound logical, maybe even wise. But David’s perspective is quite different. He declares, “The LORD Himself is my mountain hideaway. I will stand firm in what I know to be true about Him and His plan for my life” (v. 1 paraphrase).
In verses 4-7, David reminds himself of several truths about God that help him maintain that godly perspective. First, “the LORD is in His holy temple”—He is sovereign, fully in control (v. 4). Second, God sees what’s happening on earth. The ungodly may look like they will triumph, but God will never allow their victory to be the final chapter in human history (vv. 5-6). Third, “the LORD is righteous”—the godly can count on Him to do what is right, what is just and good (v. 7). Fourth, David knew his destiny. He would see God’s face one day and spend eternity in His presence (v. 7).
If, like David, I remind myself of these truths each day in every circumstance, I too will be able to maintain a godly perspective no matter what others may counsel and no matter what happens in my life, my country, or the world.
What perspective will you choose for 2016?
Some scholars believe the historical setting for Psalm 11 is 1 Samuel 13-17. Read those chapters and ask yourself this question: Would I have responded more like the people in 1 Samuel 13:6-8 or like Jonathan in 1 Samuel 14:6 and David in 17:32-37?
Read Psalm 12. What two perspectives does David contrast in this psalm? What is his conclusion in verse 7?
Read Revelation 21:22 through Revelation 22:5. What will our lives be like when we can see God face to face?
Denise K. Loock