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31 July 2016

Psalm 11: Flee Unto My Mountain

This psalm starts out so beautifully, whether you are looking at the King James or the Joseph Smith Translation.

From the KJV: 

"In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?"
-Psalm 11:1

This idea of being protected and sheltered by the Lord is even more clear in the JST

"In that day thou shalt come, O Lord; and I will put my trust in thee. Thou shalt say unto thy people, for mine ear hath heard thy voice; thou shalt say unto every soul, Flee unto my mountain; and the righteous shall flee like a bird that is let go from the snare of the fowler."
-JST Psalm 11:1

I'd never heard of a fowler, and it's not in the Bible Dictionary, so I googled to see what I could come up with, and found that it really adds to the impact of the JST version of this verse:

Fowler: A professional birdcatcher. In the days previous to firearms, birds were captured with nets spread on the ground, in traps and snares. ... The fowlers supplied the demand for doves and other birds used for caged pets, and furnished the market with wild pigeons and doves for sacrifice and such small birds as were used for food. ... Sometimes the snare held fast, sometimes it broke; then the joy in the heart of a freed man was like the wild exultation in the heart of the escaping bird.
-Bible Encyclopedia: Fowler

Photo courtesy the LDS Media Library

It's no small threat, either: the threats we flee from in this Psalm are life-and-death matters, particularly if we're still working within the idea of the righteous as small birds. 

"For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart."
-Psalm 11:2

 So what do we do? How do we run to the Lord for safety? Where should we turn our steps when we flee from the wicked?

To the temple.

The Lord is in his holy temple...
-Psalm 11:4

We flee from the wickedness, from the evil snares, by taking refuge in the temple. The scriptures draw a connection between both mountains and temples, and also temples and safety. Consider these verses (they make a nice scripture chain):

JST Psalm 11:1 -- The righteous flee to the Lord.
Psalm 11:4 -- The Lord is in His temple.
Micah 4:2 -- Let us go to the mountain of the Lord, the house of God.
Isaiah 2:2 -- All nations flow to the mountain of the Lord's house.
Alma 26:5 -- Sheaves (converts) are gathered to garners (temples).
D&C 109:24-28 -- Protection from the temple.
D&C 101:65 - His people gathered as wheat to garners.

Brother Bednar has had a lot to say, in various talks, about this connection between the temple and safety. Here are some of the things that he's taught:

The Prophet Joseph Smith declared that in all ages the divine purpose of gathering the people of God is to build temples so His children can receive the highest ordinances and thereby gain eternal life. This essential relationship between the principle of gathering and the building of temples is highlighted in the Book of Mormon:

“Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted” (Alma 26:5).

The sheaves in this analogy represent newly baptized members of the Church. The garners are the holy temples. Elder Neal A. Maxwell explained: “Clearly, when we baptize, our eyes should gaze beyond the baptismal font to the holy temple. The great garner into which the sheaves should be gathered is the holy temple”. This instruction clarifies and emphasizes the importance of sacred temple ordinances and covenants—that the sheaves may not be wasted.
-Honorably Hold a Name and Standing, April 2009

 And, he said this, speaking to the whole church, but most particularly to the youth:

Many of you may think family history work is to be performed primarily by older people. But I know of no age limit described in the scriptures or guidelines announced by Church leaders restricting this important service to mature adults. You are sons and daughters of God, children of the covenant, and builders of the kingdom. You need not wait until you reach an arbitrary age to fulfill your responsibility to assist in the work of salvation for the human family. ...

As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives.
-The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn, October 2011 Conference, emphasis added


Anne Chovies said...

Another reminder of the blessings and safety the temple offers. I went to Elder Bednar's talk on the temple you reference here. Good thoughts there. The Psalms are turning out to be more "little gifts from heaven". I like reading what you're finding in them.

Anne Chovies said...

Came across this cite and thought of you and your study of the Psalms. It adds a dimension of context that i found interesting.


Ritsumei said...

That's a pretty cool resource that you found! Thank you!


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