David and Jonathan

Psalm 11

In the LORD I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
"Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
they have fitted their arrow to the string
to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?"
The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD's throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test, the children of man.
The LORD tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the LORD is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.

Have you ever wondered what would make David write Psalms like this one? "...if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” and "Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup."

I'm reading through the Bible chronologically, not from beginning to end - this is a way that I've never done it and there are a few things that are falling into place - like the Psalms. In reading this way, I'm gaining an understanding of David's emotions; why he wrote some of these Psalms.

Sometimes these Bible stories seem disconnected from real people - but reading the history and then the Psalms lets me "connect" with David and his emotions This reminds me that grief and upset with mistreatment is a very human thing that even King David had in his life, and for good reasons!

I don't know how they figured out when all of these songs were written, but I guess they did. And reading a Psalm right after reading the part of the history book that it was written for/about really sheds some light on the Psalm - and David's feelings in the middle of the history.

David wrote this Psalm after Saul tried to kill him once and had made plans to kill him again (1 Samuel 19-20). David had a conversation with Jonathan (Saul's son) that went something like this:

David: "Jonathan, your dad wants to kill me. What have I done to deserve this?
Jonathan: 'That can't be right. My dad doesn't do anything important unless he tells me...so you must be mistaken
David: No, really! Saul knows that you like me, so he's not telling you that he's trying to murder me!

Jonathan is still doubtful, so they make a plan. There was going to be a feast the next day and David was supposed to be there (along with Saul). Jonathan agreed to tell Saul that David had gone someplace else while David was actually hiding out waiting for Jonathan to get a clue about his father. If Jonathan told Saul that David had gone to see his family and Saul shrugged his shoulders and went "Ok", David was safe, but if the reaction was anger, then Saul was angry that he couldn't kill David that day...

The plan worked...Saul's reaction included angry words about Jonathan's mother, angry words toward Jonathan and Saul throwing a spear at his own son out of anger...

David and Jonathan had planned a set of signals, which Jonathan used; they said goodbye and David went into hiding, which is where he wrote Psalm 11.

He was emotionally hurt, rejected, cut off from his best friend. He was running for his life, in danger from his mentor and best friend's father.

This Psalm reflects that pain, rejection and loss.

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