PLEA FOR HELP
Lord, thank You for being there when we need You.
Read PSALM 12
For the director of music. According to sheminith. 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 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.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).
I sometimes think our modern world is swamped with lying politicians, a media hostile towards God’s people with little concern for the poor or oppressed, and scant evidence that anyone lives a godly life. David obviously inhabited a similar world. His psalm begins as a community lament. It does not express a personal complaint, but, in the light of the evil times, ends up as a plea for God’s help. He recognizes that basic virtues like honesty, humility, compassion, and faithfulness are no longer apparent. Instead, lies, flattery, boasting, wickedness, and duplicity are honored by everyone. The mood changes in verse 5, with the assurance that God will arise and judge on behalf of the needy. He will protect. He will bring hope and assurance for those who feel he has abandoned them.
When we despair over the state of our present world and are tempted to think that God must be on vacation, this psalm brings a calm assurance. God remains on the job. He hears our cries for help and allows us to pour out our hearts to him. He will arise to protect and deliver. As his agents, we also have our role in bringing virtue into this world: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men do nothing” (Edmund Burke, 1729–1797). Withdrawing or simply condemning wickedness is insufficient—we are to defend the poor and needy and to provide the vulnerable with safety.
Jesus promises to be with us always. His Word stands firm and true, like precious metal refined seven times (6). God doesn’t pretend that evil does not exist. Jesus died for the sins of the repentant wicked. He came to “bring good news to the poor… to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18,19, NRSV; cf. Isa. 61:1,2). That, too, is our mission during our short time on earth.
How does today’s psalm speak to your local church? Will you stand up for truth and righteousness and defend the cause of the oppressed?
Lord, Your people take comfort in the assurance that You defend and deliver those who depend on You the most.