By Bill Boyd — I love the old hymn, and I can sing it with all my heart. “Flee as a bird to your mountain, thou who art weary of sin.” The “mountain” in this song is a fit image for Jesus our savior. He is refuge with abundant grace that is greater than all our sin. The old hymn reminds me of the words of Jesus when he said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
You cannot wrestle alone with sin and win; it will defeat you and destroy you. But you can come to Christ on his terms and he will welcome you, and forgive you and heal you. Therefore, we sing, “Cease from your sorrow and crying: The Savior will wipe every tear.”
But in Psalm 11:1 these same words have a very different meaning. Someone is telling David to flee! They make a strong case. David is in danger; “The wicked bend their bow and make ready their arrow upon the string” (Psalm 11:2). It is important for David to live; “If the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3). But David is not afraid. “In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? … the LORD’s throne is in heaven … Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest … his countenance doth behold the upright” (Psalm 11:1, 4, 6, 7).
In the psalm David sounds like he did after his older brother ridiculed him for thinking he could go out and fight with the giant Goliath. David said, “What now have I done? Is there not a cause?” (1 Samuel 17:29).
David also sounds like Nehemiah when the Jews were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. In the face of threats from their enemies Shemaiah became afraid and pled with Nehemiah to hide with him in the temple and shut the doors lest they seek him out to slay him. Nehemiah answered, “Should such a man as I flee? … I will not go in” (Nehemiah 6:11).
David and Nehemiah were men of courage because they knew they were in the right and they put their trust in the LORD. Fear is a weapon Satan uses to get us to flee, but the answer to fear is faith. As our Lord told his disciples, “Why are ye so fearful? Why is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).
There is a time to flee from sin, and that is the gist of the song, but there is also a time to fight against evil, and that is the gist of the psalm.
When it came to sinful passions Paul told Timothy, “Thou, O man of God, flee these things” (1 Timothy 6:11), but when it came to standing for the truth he said in the next verse, “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12).
This apostle also said, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might … take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13). Standing with God works. James said, “Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
In another song we sing, “Rise up, O men of God! Have done with lesser things. Give heart and mind and soul and strength to serve the King of kings … The kingdom tarries long. Bring in the day of brotherhood and end the night of wrong.”
The days are evil, and it is our time to stand for God’s truth; DO NOT flee as a bird to your mountain.
Bill, gospel preacher with the Rockcliff congregation in Morrison TN, published this article in a closed social media and gave us permission to share it here.