4 The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord's throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
5 The Lord tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
6 Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.
As this psalm continues the assurance of the foundation (Psa 11:3) is made plain. In contrast to despair of destruction, the Lord is affirmed as a place of refuge against which the works of the unrighteous cannot harm His people. This place of refuge is the Lord’s temple. This word is unique in that it appears in the Scriptures only from the books of Samuel onward. It is a word for the “established Israel” and was in fact a material place. But it is quickly associated with God’s throne “in heaven”. The temple is where God’s throne overlaps with creation and God meets with us (Exo 25:22; 29:42; 30:6; etc.).
This is the idea lying behind “our Father in heaven” and “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:9-10). The Jewish concept of God and deliverance was established in the overlapping of the temple and heaven. Ultimately this is fulfilled in Jesus Christ (John 1:14; 2:21; Rev 21:22).
In His judgment God does not only test the unrighteous. It is through these tests that the just are proven (Psa 7:9). This concept is carried over into the New Testament including the temple of God context (1 Cor 3:11-17; 1 Pet 4:12-18). The “soul” of the Lord is anthropomorphism for the very living essence of Him (Gen 1:20-21, 24, 30; 2:7; etc.). God’s hatred stems from His entire existence. This judgment is then described in prophetic language that should remind us that these judgments are both historical and eschatological like many New Testament passages (Matt 24-25; 2 Thess 1; Revelation).
For the psalmist assurance rests in the righteousness of the Lord. He loves righteous deeds performed by men. He defends and blessed, with His presence and face, the upright (Psa 7:10; 11:2). For though no man can see God’s face and live (Exo 33:20) God’s provision has been made for the righteous.