Faith-filled Heart vs. Faint-heart

Psalm 11

Psalm of David, circumstances – unknown; numerous times when David was in real danger from real enemies with real weapons; could have been one of those occasions. Also has application to non-military, non-violent settings – hard providences that involve attacks on reputation, challenges to health, radical adjustments to standard of living. Basically any situation when action by evil agents causes hardship for child of God. Here David had in view human agents but certainly has broader use than that.

It’s good to remember that, just like us, David automatic response wasn’t always the right one. Sometimes seems like he had to talk himself into doing right, convince himself that first choice or greatest desire wasn’t necessarily best one. Is this one of those conversations with self? perhaps – Psa. 16:2; 42:5; 43:5; 62:5; 103:1, 2, 22; 104:1; 116:7; 146:1

O my soul, you have said to the Lord… Why are you cast down, O my soul?… My soul, wait silently for God… Bless the Lord, O my soul…

Yes, is OK to talk to yourself; in fact, it’s good and necessary on occasion. Example given here and elsewhere in Psalms is helpful model, showing us what do when we’re in danger of making wrong choice. At times our day starts out with our heart filled/overflowing with faith; then out of nowhere, seems like, confidence evaporates. Get what feels like a “sucker punch” – painful news from a friend, hard report from doctor, difficult word from employer or attorney, just a few examples. Response: hearts become faint with fear, discouragement.

Then or occasions faint-hearted friends offer “helpful” guidance – it’s time for note to self, a conversation with our soul such as David had. The content: here’s how you need to think, what you need to do to please God. This, btw, exemplifies 2 Cor. 5:7 – we walk by faith, not by sight (appearance). If we truly do have eyes fixed on that goal, “upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14), what does that look like where rubber meets road and it’s hard going?

A. Statement of faith v.1a

daily challenge for child of God – who gets the vote of confidence?

remember James: “consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials” (1:2)

what’s first resource you reach for? prayer and the Bible? remote and Dr. Phil? self and amazing store of wisdom?

David: act of will, trusting in God

declares the right thing to do

commits to doing it

talks himself through the process

trusts God for all resources


defense from harm – starting with but not limited to physical harm

one who trusts in the Lord obviously has concern for soul as well as body


strongest fortress is ultimately insufficient if not well-provisioned

one who trusts in God as refuge/fortress will never lack for supplies

B. Faint-heart’s challenge v.1b-3

focused on circumstances

acting/thinking as one “unaware” of the giver of said circumstances and his good purpose in them

fearing “normal” outcome of situation apart from God’s powerful supernatural intervention

living in area of what-if’s

considering only human resources

what is obvious to human sight and reason

living in temporal dimension, not spending any time (or sufficient time) in spiritual dimension

“what can the godly accomplish?” – not “what can God do through/for the godly?”



of true nature of circumstances

of God’s ability to guide and protect


more concerned with obstacles, dangers, what-ifs

failure to remember past deliverances, trust in future deliverance


convinced situation is irrevocably hopeless

nearly without capacity to even consider deliverance possible

C. Faith’s answer v.4-7

looks up – above circumstances

Gen. 50:20 “you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good”

God not only puts desires to do his will in people’s hearts (see Cyrus, Ezra 1:1-5), also overrules evil purposes

further, uses hard things that have no human cause for good of his people: tsunami, flood, fire, cancer, birth defects…

doesn’t redefine good and evil, God uses evil of all sorts to actually accomplish his good purpose

we only get that when we look for hand of God at work

looks beyond – “sees” invisible

2 Kings 6:15-17those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

God is still in charge, knows what’s up (4)

has given up none of his authority

has delegated no task to another that rightly belonging to him

has all things within his intent and searching view

God can tell difference between righteous and wicked (5)

evaluates them accordingly

tests the righteous, judges the wicked

tests to purify and strengthen

judges in punishment

let God worry about the wicked (6)

God can see places we can’t

reach places we can’t

bring about a just outcome

I can trust God to take care of me (7)

“The upright will see His face.” HCSB “the upright will experience his favor.” NET

how do we know that? because of his character

he is righteous

he loves righteousness

Gen. 18:25 “Will not the judge of the whole earth do what is right?”

Did David have just cause, good reason to make his opening declaration? Of course he did. So, too, everyone who looks beyond circumstances to trust in God. It’s what enabled Jeremiah, writing in response to destruction of Jerusalem, to declare:

Lam. 3:21-23 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

God’s word cannot be broken (John 10:35), neither can his promises, his commitment to doing whatever is necessary for his glory and good of his children.

…saving smiles beam sweetly over the redeemed flock. God now beholds them in all love. They soon shall see Him in all glory. Holy Spirit! keep us ever in the light of His countenance. Henry Law

When time comes for hard decision, follow David’s example:

declare trust in God

convince yourself that it’s right choice

rest in confidence that God will do his part, equip you for your part

regardless of how bleak / hopeless situation may appear


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