THE WORDS OF GOD
I praise you Lord. Your strength sustains me, your counsel directs me, and your Word instructs me.
Read Psalm 12
For the director of music. According to sheminith.[b] A psalm of David.
1 Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
2 Everyone lies to their neighbor;
they flatter with their lips
but harbor deception in their hearts.
3 May the Lord silence all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue—
4 those who say,
“By our tongues we will prevail;
our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”
5 “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.”
6 And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver purified in a crucible,
like gold[c] refined seven times.
7 You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
and will protect us forever from the wicked,
8 who freely strut about
when what is vile is honored by the human race.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘In a culture bombarded by images, endless messages and comments, I turn to you. I remind myself your words are eternal and true. They bring life to all who meditate on them. Bring me life and hope now, Lord.’
The psalmist is articulating a message on behalf of others. And he’s voicing a sense of weary despair with the culture. These words are not directed to other nations or marauding invaders, but rather to his own people.
His complaint is not born out of nostalgia but is directed against values and attitudes that are corrosive. Lying is widespread, accompanied by flattery and deception (vs 2,3). It’s the poor who are suffering the most from this attitude of supremacy (v 5), and God promises to come to their aid (v 5).
It’s impossible to understand the cultural conditions against which the psalmist is railing, but these words resonate with our own. We too are all too familiar with inflammatory speech and poisonous tweets. One can sense the relief of the psalmist when he considers God’s words; they are pure, fine, and worth our attention (v 6). In the eighteenth century, the great abolitionist, William Wilberforce, was part of a movement that called for the reformation of manners. It called for more humane values and discourse in public life. Is that what we need now?
‘Lord, help me to guard my tongue and use it well. May my words be savored with grace and kindness; may I be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger’ (James 1:19).
Lord, I need to make my deeds fit my words, my conduct fit my profession. Enable me to practice selflessness in my daily living.
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