The first few psalms are a great way to be oriented to God and to find True North in Him among the craziness that pervades our world and sometimes creeps into our church. I was reminded of the two greatest commandments here and noticed how the behaviour of David’s neighbours was diametrically opposed: ungodly, proud, obstinate, unfaithful, uncaring and uncompassionate. The focus is on words but the consequences are more visible (oppression and neglect). David, the greatest King of Israel, finds it too much. “God save me!” is his prayer. Ultimately our hope for justice and protection can only be located in God.
Words that are worthless do more harm than good. Broadly speaking untruth can be experienced as lies, insincerity or simply distortion and exaggeration. A myriad of un-helpfulness abounds in false claims, manipulative flattery, deceitful double-talk, boasting, threatening and proud ungodly stubbornness. We don’t have to look far to find examples I think not much has changed (such as much marketing, political spin-doctoring, sensational news items, heretical Christian books the list goes on).
David’s response was not a lengthy engagement in a statement of his defence. Just two words “Save me!” Then God’s active word changed everything as the Psalm continues (and also in many other places in the bible). God’s words by massive contrast are always valuable, effective and trustworthy because of his faithful heart of integrity. God does not change; He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). God’s power is immensely greater than the silly boasting of the arrogant. In the face of rotten social behaviour true justice demands cleansing. David called for his neighbours’ destruction in the Old Covenant paradigm. In the New Testament Christians are called to see themselves as salt – to be an antiseptic that lives among the morally unbound. I’m also reminded that to stand firm as in 1 & 2 Thessalonians takes effort, so as not to be blown away or lost in conformity.
In Revelation the church is constantly under threat of attack as she seeks to witness. She is not promised immediate deliverance out of evil, but helped in her suffering to hold fast faithfully to her true identity – to remain the community of God’s people. We are the people of ‘the God of the Bible’ who is faithful and true, who loves completely yet does not leave the guilty unpunished.
Of Jesus in John 6:68, Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.”
Paul G. Apple, Commentary on Psalms, Baltimore.
Jim Jarrett, Psalm 12, Calvary Chapel, Palo Cedro.