Through the Bible in a Year: Psalm 11-15

This Week’s Reading Schedule

Thursday’s (today’s) Bible Reading is Psalm 11-15
Friday, April 6: Psalm 16-20

Next week we will read Joshua.

The overall year’s plan is here.

Psalm 11

"How can you say to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain’?" (v. 1, NASB).

Psalm 11 answers that question. Our trust seems futile if we look at circumstances and at the wicked who succeed, but the Lord is our refuge, and we will be safe trusting in him.

Again, this is a Psalm from David, who spent months fleeing from King Saul, living in the wilderness. David had a lot of reason to be hopeless, but he maintained his trust in God.

Psalm 12

In verses 1-5 we see a situation similar to what western society faces today. Personally, I think I’ve seen signs of a revival of committed Christianity. There are churches making a difference in society by helping the poor and the hopeless both with physical and spiritual needs, trusting God’s power to make their ministries effective. There are teachers speaking straight words of obedience to Jesus Christ. Those things are wonderful to behold.

Overall, though, I think we all have to admit western society no longer honors the righteousness of God.

David considers this a war, and his prayers are strong, calling on God to cut off the opposition.

I take it as a warning to myself to never buckle in my stand for Christ and his righteousness, making no place for a philosophy that human beings are okay on their own, apart from Christ. Let us be steadfast representatives of the power, peace, and joy of the righteousness of Christ, and defenders of his resurrection and his status as Judge of all the earth.

David goes on to say that the Lord’s words are pure, and they will last forever. The message of Christ is not growing old, nor losing its power. Our society may not honor God’s righteousness as it has in the past, but that is a fault of society. God’s righteousness, as explained in his Word, is pure and will last forever. It is not corrupted.

The final verse warns us what will happen if we do not stand, but instead allow vileness to be exalted.

Psalm 13

David was honest in his Psalms. Psalm 13 is another one, which again ends in trust in God.

Some Psalms are best sung or prayed when we share the feelings of the psalmist. They have lessons to teach us, too, but to be able to come read the Psalm, pray it, and identify with it can give us strength when we feel as the psalmist did.

Psalm 14

Psalm 14 is almost exactly the same as Psalm 53.

The start of this Psalm is quoted in Romans 3, where Paul is pointing out that everyone is under sin; no one is excepted.

David wonders if these people realize the danger they are in. He wonders if they realize that God will judge in the end. The truth, David says, is that God is with the righteous generation. In other words, judgment is coming, and the wicked will not succeed.

It’s probably worth pointing out that all-inclusive language in Scripture is often not completely inclusive. David says there are none good, not even one, nor even one who seeks after God. Yet these unrighteous people are persecuting "my people" (v. 4). We have to assume that "my people" are not among those who don’t seek after God. Also in verse 5, God is with the righteous generation, and we have to assume as well that these righteous are not among the "none good, not even one."

That kind of speaking is common in our language. When I say, "Everyone has heard of Joe DiMaggio," I don’t actually imagine that there’s no one anywhere who hasn’t. It’s apparent that Scripture speaks the same way, and I’ll point that out as we run across other passages like this.

Keep in mind that I am not disagreeing with Romans 3’s assessment that we all need salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus told the rich, young ruler that only God is good (Matt. 19:17). But we cannot imagine that there was no one at all in David’s day that was seeking God. At the very least there was David, who was writing the Psalm!

Psalm 15

This Psalm, too, is repeated almost word for word, in Psalm 24.

I like to go back and look at both Psalm 15 and Psalm 24 and read the lines there, asking myself whether they are true of me.

One that is hard for me is verse 4, "In whose eyes a reprobate is despised" (NASB). This calls my courage into question. Am I willing to take a stand against the stand of the reprobate, refusing to justify him, and instead taking a consistent stand for righteousness?

I am certain there is a spiritual, loving way to do this, but I am also certain that treating everyone like they are a good person is a coward’s way to live.

You may find other lines in this Psalm more difficult. I recommend going back over this Psalm and other passages like it (Matthew 5-7, for example, the Sermon on the Mount) on a regular basis to keep ourselves serious about our commitment to Christ.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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