Help to Avoid the False Words | Psalm 12:1–5

          Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone;
            for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
          Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
            with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
          May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
            the tongue that makes great boasts,
          those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
            our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
          “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.”

This psalm is a lament of a faithless generation in Israel battling words.  On one side, the wicked boast and oppress with their tongues.  On the other, the Lord arises and speaks His tried and true Word—the one enduring forever, delivering the righteous for generations to come (v. 7).  For now, David lifts his prayer to the Lord—“Help, O Lord!”—because of the trouble he faces.

The godly seeks the Lord when he feels unstable.  In v. 1, he seems isolated.  The Hebrew term translated “faithful” here has the idea of being “firm” or “stable,”  paralleling “the godly.”  David is cut off from those holding true to God’s covenant.  God created companionship (Gn 2:18), and godly fellowship helps us have a sense of stability in life.  Still, we cannot experience stability by putting our trust in others—God must be our help, widening the way before us while His enemies seek to surround us (v. 8). 

The godly seeks the Lord when he feels oppressed.  The godless surround with empty words of vanity, double-minded and deceitful.  Machiavellian, they flatter for advantage, hiding a knife in a smile.  Therefore, David prays God would remove the tongues and lips of these rebels against the true King.

Though they boast, their rebellion is foolishness.  They believe their tongues to be a source of gain, they pride themselves in controlling their own lips, and naturally, they think that they have no lord over them.  The folly of ego, of free will, and of autonomy define the human condition; today’s trumpeters of sexual liberty also resound, “You must allow me my way, my body is my own, and don’t put your God’s morality on me!” 

David overstates his case; like Elijah (1 Kgs 19:10), he feels alone.  Trouble and falsehood surrounds, but he’s about to be reminded—“Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Ps 2:12).  The Lord will arise, and judgment comes now.  “The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name” (Ex 15:3).

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