Psalm 11:4-6 : The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them. 5 The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. 6 On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.
Response: Think! don’ t you know? Consider that God not only sees all I do, but he sees it to that very end that he may examine and search into it. He does not only behold me with a common and indifferent look, but with a searching, watchful, and inquisitive eye: he pries the reasons, the motives, the ends of all my actions. The Lord’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. Revelation 1:14 , where Christ is described, it is said, his eyes are as a flame of fire: I know the property of fire is to search and make trial of those things which are exposed unto it, and to separate the dross from the pure metal: so, God’s eye is like fire, to try and examine the actions of men: he knows and discerns how much my very purest duties have in them mixture, and base ends of formality, hypocrisy, distractedness, and deadness: he sees through all my specious pretences, that which I cast as a mist before the eyes of men when yet I am but a juggler in religion: all my tricks and sleights of outward profession, all those things that I use to confound and delude men withal, I cannot possibly impose upon him: he is a God that can look through all those fig leaves of outward profession, and discern the nakedness of my duties through them.
The Lord tries the righteous: he does not hate them, but only tries them. They are precious to him, and therefore he refines them with afflictions. None of the Lord’s children may hope to escape from trial, nor, indeed, in my right mind, would I desire to do so, for trial is the channel of many blessings. Times of affliction and persecution will distinguish the precious from the vile, it will differentiate the counterfeit professor from the true. Persecution is a Christian’s touchstone, it is a lapis lydius that will try what metal men are made of, whether they be silver or tin, gold or dross, wheat or chaff, shadow or substance, carnal or spiritual, sincere or hypocritical. Nothing speaks out more soundness and uprightness than a pursuing after holiness, even then when holiness is most afflicted, pursued, and persecuted in the world: to stand fast in fiery trials argues much integrity within. God hates the wicked, and therefore in contrast he loves the righteous; but it is here said that he tries them: therefore it follows that to try and to love are with God the same thing.
But the wicked and him that loves violence His soul hateth: why, then, shall I flee from these wicked men? If God hates them, I will not fear them. Haman was very great in the palace until he lost favour, but when the king abhorred him, how bold were the meanest attendants to suggest the gallows for the man at whom they had often trembled! Look at the black mark upon the faces of our persecutors, and we shall not run away from them. If God is in the quarrel as well as ourselves, it would be foolish to question the result, or avoid the conflict.
Repent, you rebels, or this fiery deluge shall soon surround you. Hell’s horrors shall be your inheritance, your entailed estate, the portion of your cup. The dregs of that cup you shall wring out, and drink for ever. A drop of hell is terrible, but what must a full cup of torment be? Think of it — a cup of misery, but not a drop of mercy. O people of God, how foolish is it to fear the faces of men who shall soon be faggots in the fire of hell! Think of their end, their fearful end, and all fear of them must be changed into contempt of their threatenings, and pity for their miserable estate.
Father, as I note You are from everlasting to everlasting, You are the winner and all those with You. Remind me often of my enemies’ end, when my heart begins to quake and help me quickly turn my focus on You. Then I will not be depressed nor affected by the trials I face, that will refine me to be pure gold in Your sight. It will be worth it all when I see Your lovely face and Your endorsement of “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Help me stand to the end, I pray in Your strength. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.