Psalm 12: the Word of God
To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith.
A Psalm of David. (ESV)
(1)Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone;
for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
(2)Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
(3)May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,
(4)those who say, "With our tongue we will prevail,
our lips are with us; who is master over us?"
(5)"Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,"
says the LORD; "I will place him in the safety for which he longs."
(6)The words of the LORD are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
(7)You, O LORD, will keep them;
you will guard us from this generation forever.
(8)On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.
Thanks for joining me and jumping back to study psalm 12. If you didn't see, I accidentally skipped 12 and wrote a devotion for psalm 13 last week. Of course I don't believe it was an accident for a second, and you will see why if you read 13.
In this psalm, David speaks of the vicious words of man compared to the precious and healing and powerful and pure Words of God.
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
I can imagine what flattering lips might mean, but what is a double heart?!
Thomas Adams (1583-1652), an English preacher, said this, “A heart and a heart: one for the Church, another for the Change; one for Sundays, another for working-days: one for the King, another for the Pope. A man without a heart is a wonder: but a man with two hearts is a monster.”
Oh, that's harsh.
Maybe David was in the court of King Saul when he wrote this psalm with the whispering and gossiping going on around him; people stepping over one another trying to gain the king's favor; people stepping on him. Maybe he was sick and tired of those professing to love the Lord on the Sabbath acting differently when they go back to work on Monday. Or maybe he was tired of those professing to love him and follow him, only to turn around and say the same to Saul later.
Have you been a lip flatterer? Have you had a double heart? I have. Oof!!!
Whatever was happening, David was keenly aware of flattering lips and double hearts. Maybe he didn't know who to trust.
David Guzik of the blog Enduring Word says this, "David was a warrior and a fierce soldier, but we see here that he also had to deal with the battles of gossip and the backbiting of idle and deceptive talkers. David knew what it was like to feel all alone in this kind of battle, where it seemed that no one would speak up and defend him. Instead, he took his case to the LORD. We sense that David probably would have preferred to battle with swords and shields than among the gossips and backbiters surrounding him."
David was so frustrated with the flattering lips and two faced people, you can hear it in his words, then his words change as he speaks of something that is timeless and true and pure and unchanging...
the Word of God.
Right now, with the politics and the pandemic and the unknowns and the news and the fake news and the drama and all that there is to be scared of, we could say the same....
away from me flattering lips and double hearts!
Quit trying to distract me from all the blessings that I have in my life.
I will seek God's Word which is true and good and timeless.
If you read other translations of this psalm here is an interesting difference:
The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever. (V6-7 ESV)
The words of Jehovah are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, purified seven times. Thou wilt keep them, O Jehovah, thou wilt preserve them from this generation forever. (V6-7 ASV)
Is David talking about God's people or God's Words? Or both? An 18th century preacher believes that David said both: God will preserve His people and His Word.
"The psalmist breaks out into praise of the purity of His words, and declares that Jehovah will ‘keep them,’ and ‘preserve them.’ The ‘them’ refers to the words. There is no promise made of widespread revival or renewal. It is the salvation of a remnant and the preservation of His own words which Jehovah promises.”
G. Campbell Morgan, English preacher 1863-1945
Despite the drama in court, David was CONFIDENT in God's ability to preserve His words, no matter who tried to mess them up. We can look back throughout time and see that the Hand of God has protected the integrity of His Word.
And He will continue to do so.
We can rest in this, friends. That despite the gossip and the drama and the lies and the evil in this world, that God's Word will never fade or change.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. Isaiah 40:8
David says the Lord's Word is pure and compares it to silver that has been put through fire to burn out all of the impurities. And not only once but SEVEN times! This silver is pure!
The words of the LORD are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times. (V6 NASB)
Has the Word of the Lord withstood fire?
Time and time again.
But the difference between God's Word and silver is that God's Word has lost nothing through the fire.
There were no impurities to begin with.
My friends, during this time of fear and trial, read God's Word. If you've never done so before, might I suggest starting in the New Testament book of John. You will meet Jesus there.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5
Heavenly Father, thank You that Your Words are true and pure and timeless and powerful. Help us to lean upon the truth of Your Word at all times, but especially now. Help us to weigh everything against Your Truth. Thank you for the book of Psalms in particular; continue to bless us as we read from it and learn from it. Please Father, heal our land, keep our loved ones safe and healthy, and strengthen Your church. Amen.