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.
Psalm 12 opens with a cry for help to the only one who can truly save. You can almost feel David’s anguish as he asks for God to move on behalf of the people. This psalm was likely written during the time David is running from Saul, when the entire nation of Israel turns on him because of the king. Even still, there is truth to his statement, as man alone is unable to be loyal to God.
Just as in David’s time, we too, must live with the constant flattery and double minded hearts of our piers, neighbors, family, and even ourselves. It is inescapable that we are sinners, and being such will use our cunning to speak desired words to those around us to make them feel good or better and give us what we desire: pride and self worth. What lies in the depths of our hearts is a trap where we cannot escape ourselves. Our lips profess what the hearer desires, be it true or false.
“29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” – Romans 1
It is only by God’s grace that we may be set free from ourselves. Only in God’s perfect timing and power will all the boasting and flattery stop. If it is His will, then silence will come. Outside of Christ’s righteousness that has been imputed to us, we are just like the rest. Our nature says that we have the power to do all things, and that we are the commanders of our destiny. We think that our words can change the world, that by our lips and our tongues we can move mountains. Interesting how man thinks this way when the truth is that only One has the ability to speak into existence. Only One has the power to change our reality.
Even in this darkness there are those that God has deemed His own. These are the poor and plundered of verse 5. They seek Him because of His mercy towards them. God calls them out of the darkness they are trapped in: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” – 1 Peter 2:9-10
At God’s command and His decision He raises up and snatches His people out of their misery. For when God creates an awareness in you that sin is at your door, you long to know truth and a way of escape. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2
And when God says something, there is no backtrack or error. When He speaks, He speaks truth. If He says it will happen, then nothing can change it. What beautiful words are written in verse 6. There are no flaws in the words of God because God cannot lie. By the very fact that He is truth, His words must come to pass, and they will never fail. To think they are dependent on some outside variable (like a man keeping his part of the bargain) would be to negate God for what He is: omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent. He can never fail – or He is not God. “19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” – 1 John 2
The protection spoken of in the last verses is one of eternal importance. It is true that God may protect you from certain immediate dangers here in this world, but the protection written of here is for all time. He protects our souls. This body is not what is important, as it will perish along with all material possessions. And although we may still be subject to physical destruction in this life, we are being made new in Christ each day as we read the Word and pray. Each trial brings us closer to Him – which is what God calls good.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those that love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28