For the director of music. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.
Help, Lord, for no one is faithful any more;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbour;
they flatter with their lips
but harbour deception in their hearts.
May the Lord silence all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue –
those who say,
‘By our tongues we will prevail;
our own lips will defend us – who is lord over us?’
‘Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
I will now arise,’ says the Lord.
‘I will protect them from those who malign them.’
And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver purified in a crucible,
like gold refined seven times.
You, Lord, will keep the needy safe(Ps. 12:1-8 NIV)
and will protect us for ever from the wicked,
who freely strut about
when what is vile is honoured by the human race.
There is a contrast here between the evil and flattering speech of the world and the flawless words of the LORD.
Those who are loyal to the LORD appear to have vanished but the numbers of the wicked have increased. This is how Elijah felt:
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”(1 Ki. 19:10 NIV)
It was difficult to find any who lived in covenant faithfulness to the LORD and whose lives demonstrated (Hesed) covenant love. The faithful could not be seen but the wicked could be seen and heard.
The wicked spoke fine-sounding words which had no substance. The second verse of GK Chesterton’s hymn (1906) reads
From all that terror teaches,
from lies of tongue and pen,
from all the easy speeches
that comfort cruel men,
from sale and profanation
of honour, and the sword,
from sleep and from damnation,
deliver us, good Lord!
They spoke lies and flattered with their words. They imagined they had power within their grasp because of the mastery of their speech and the strength of their written words. There is the pretence that their speech was noble, with enough truth to try and sell the overall lie.
The Psalmist looks to the LORD to silence these tongues. The wicked had a great deal of arrogance; they had no master or lord to rule over them. They were self-made people governed only by their own judgement, a law onto themselves.
Because the wicked have robbed the needy, God has heard the cry or groan of the needy.
The LORD resolves to arise and deal with those who have been abused.
In contrast the words of the LORD are pure, like refined silver or gold. God’s words are free from the dross of lies and flattery found in the wicked. Again the Psalmist gains the perspective of the sanctuary and has confidence that God will keep them safe and provide protection forever from the wicked. This confidence was not caused by a change in circumstances, it was caused by the realisation of the purity of the LORD’s words.
Everything the LORD has made and said is pure. Humanity has taken that and defiled it. There is much in our world that is vile and celebrated because it is vile, but the Word of the LORD remains pure and we can trust it because God has spoken. The lesson we learn is to bring all these troubles before our God in prayer.
Lord God it hurts us deeply when we see the vile agendas established as normal behaviour. Our children and grandchildren grow up in times where they are exposed to lifestyles and celebration of lifestyles that are contrary to your world. We live in a day when there is great biblical illiteracy and we have to start with the most basic of teaching to share the Gospel. It was into a dark world that our Saviour came, but the Spirit of God worked mightily and thousands were brought to Christ. Lord in this hour of international need, cause your people and those outside of Christ to live in the true fear of the Lord. Save the life and the soul of our prime minister and may this be the beginning of a mighty reformation in our nation, to the glory of Christ in whose name we pray. Amen