Psalm 12:8 – The wicked [immoral; criminal] walk on every side [every place], when the vilest [worthless]men are exalted [raised up; high].”
The historical context of Psalm 12 is uncertain; however, it was a desperate time for the nation of Israel. This author is of the opinion the psalm was written when Saul was king and David was witnessing the decline and decay of the nation.
Of course, we need only put this psalm in an immediate context to ponder the same dilemma for our nation and world. How do vile men and women of immoral passions come to occupy positions of power and influence in the world? Why are the wicked of our day so embolden in their sin? How long will the LORD abide the sins of the wicked?
The answer to those questions is found in the first verse of Psalm 12 where David prays,
Psalm 12:1– “Help [deliver; save; avenge], LORD; for the godly man [saint] ceaseth [come to an end]; for the faithful [true; people of faith; believers]fail [disperse; disappear]from among the children of men.”
Why were the ungodly emboldened in their sin and promoted? (Psalm 12:8)
Because godly men were either silent or had themselves ceased from following the LORD and walking in righteousness (12:1). The righteous had failed and their retreat and absence in public discourse permitted the promotion of the ungodly (12:1b, 8).
Notice the character of the ungodly in verses 2 and 4.
Psalm 12:2 – “They [the ungodly] speak [say; declare] vanity [deceit; evil]every one with his neighbor [friend; companion]: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.
Psalm 12:4 – 4 Who[the wicked] have said [declared; tell], With our tongue will we prevail [act insolently]; our lips are our own: who islord [master; sovereign; owner]over us?
The ungodly have no shame. They lie, flatter, beguile, and boast great things (12:2). Unchecked in their ways, they dare make their boast against the God of Heaven (12:4).
Why do the ungodly go unpunished? How dare the wicked boast against the LORD of Heaven?
David took comfort knowing the LORD would avenge Himself and take vengeance against those who railed against Him. (12:3)
Psalm 12:3 – 3 The LORD shall cut off all flattering [smooth] lips [language; speech], and the tongue that speaketh [declares; tells] proud [great; magnify] things:
We know the LORD is patient, longsuffering, and merciful (Numbers 14:18; Psalm 86:15; 2 Peter 3:9); however, be reminded He is just and will have vengeance against the wicked. The LORD will pour out His wrath on those who speak proud things, “puffeth”, and scoff (12:5)!
Psalm 12:5 – For the oppression [spoil; destruction] of the poor [afflicted], for the sighing [groaning; cries] of the needy [beggar; destitute], now will I arise [stand up], saith the LORD; I will set [array; appoint] him in safety [salvation; safety; liberty; prosper] from him that puffeth [scoffs; kindles as a fire] at him.
Unlike the wicked whose lips are full of lies and deceit, the LORD’s words are pure like refined silver that has passed through the furnace seven times (12:6).
Psalm 12:6 – 6 The words [speech; commands]of the LORD are pure [clean; fair]words: as silver tried [refined]in a furnace of earth, purified [purged; refined] seven times.
The Word of the LORD is sure, faithful and true from generation to generation (12:7).
Psalm 12:7 – 7 Thou shalt keep [preserve; guard; protect]them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve [guard; protect]them from this generation [age]for ever.
Why do the “wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted”? (Psalm 12:8)
Sadly, we need only look in the mirror and the church! When the godly cease and the righteous fail the wicked are “on every side”. (Psalm 12:1)
Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith