Scripture reading – Psalm 12

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An Introduction

The musings David expressed in Psalm 12 are familiar to those who follow current events. Understanding Solomon’s observation that “there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9), we should not be surprised that David bemoaned the wicked, and we find their ways are unchanged in our day.

Stated in contemporary terms, I suggest that Psalm 12 is an exposition of what some describe today as “political correctness.” The wicked of our day, under the guise of racial or social justice, use “Woke” and “political correctness” as vehicles for attacking Truth. The goal of evil men and women is to silence believers who consider the Scriptures morally absolute, just, and right.

Psalm 12 is titled “A Psalm of David” and is the cry of a king who witnessed the retreat of a godly remnant, and in the king’s words, were all but extinct. The date and setting that inspired Psalm 12 is not given. Some scholars suggest it reflects the era and reign of Saul. David certainly experienced betrayal and treachery during that time, and Israel followed Saul’s example and turned from the LORD. Yet, the time of Absalom’s insurrection when David was king would also stir the sentiments recorded in this passage.

David Lamented and Cried for Help (Psalm 12:1-2)

Psalm 12:1 – Help [deliver; save; avenge], LORD; for the godly man [saint] ceaseth; for the faithful [true; people of faith; believers] fail [disperse; disappear] from among the children of men.”

2 They speak [declare] vanity [deceit; evil] every one with his neighbor [friend; companion]: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.

David cried to the LORD to save the faithful and avenge those who obey His law and revere Him (Psalm 12:1). Remember Absalom’s manipulative ways (2 Samuel 15:1-2) and how he stole the people’s hearts? David described his enemies as having smooth lips. They were double-tongued (Psalm 12:2). Such is the way of the wicked in every generation.

David Foretold the Proud Would Be Destroyed (Psalm 12:3-4)

Psalm 12:3-4 – 3 The LORD shall cut off all flattering [smooth] lips [speech], and the tongue that speaketh [declares] proud [great; magnify] things:
4  Who have said
[declared; tell], With our tongue will we prevail [strengthen; act insolently]; our lips are our own: who is lord [master; sovereign; owner] over us?

David’s son promoted himself at the expense of the king’s reputation (2 Samuel 15:3-4). With “flattering lips,” Absalom assailed his father’s reputation and swayed the people to reject the king’s authority in their lives (Psalm 12:4).

The Nature of Sinners is Unchanged:

Believer, we would do well to take a page out of David’s “playbook” and understand the nature of man has not changed!  Wicked men and women are emboldened when the righteous fail to confront their evil (Psalm 12:2). When the wicked are allowed to boast about their sins, they inevitably prevail against those in authority (Psalm 12:4b). Yet, though the wicked revel in their lies and boast with their lips, David reminded his readers that the LORD is a righteous Judge. We should take comfort in knowing the LORD will “cut off,” expose, and take vengeance against those who deny Him and rail against His people. 

David Promised the LORD Preserves and Secures His People (Psalm 12:5-7)

Psalm 12:5 – For the oppression [spoil; destruction] of the poor [afflicted; depressed; needy], 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; liberty; prosper] from him that puffeth [scoffs; kindles as a fire] at him.

David reminds us that the LORD is patient, longsuffering, and merciful toward sinners. However, He is just and will avenge the wicked who oppress the poor and needy. (The “poor and needy” were not necessarily financially challenged or destitute but were afflicted and oppressed by the actions of the wicked.)

The wicked boast and oppress others, and fail to understand that the LORD is longsuffering and extends liberty to sinners for a season. However, God is just, and He will rise up against the wicked and pour out His wrath on those who “puffeth” and scoff at the poor and afflicted (Psalm 12:5).

Psalm 12:6-7 – 6 The words [Law and commandments] of the LORD are pure [clean; fair; no falsehood] words: assilver tried [refined] in a furnace of earth, purified [purged; refined] seven times.
7 Thou shalt keep
[preserve; guard; protect] them [the poor and needy of vs. 5], O LORD, thou shalt preserve [guard; protect] them from this generation [age] for ever.

Unlike the speech of the wicked (Psalm 12:2-4), the words of the LORD (His Laws and Commandments) are pure. The Word of the LORD is like pure refined silver that has passed through the furnace seven times (Psalm 12:6). By contrast, the words of the wicked are full of vain promises, but the Word of the LORD is faithful and true from generation to generation (Psalm 12:7). 

David Warned (Psalm 12:8)

Psalm 12:8 – “The wicked [immoral; vile; guilty] walk [go; behave] on every side [every place], when the vilest [worthless] men are exalted [raised up; high; emboldened].”

You need only read Psalm 12:8 to understand what has become of our nation and world! As a citizen of the United States, I find my country has invited God’s wrath by promoting the vilest of men and women to rule over us. We should not be surprised or wonder why lawlessness abounds in our day. David’s observation needs no explanation or commentary. David’s son, Solomon, later observed, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: But when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2).

Closing thoughts

This generation has elected vile, wicked men and women who have permitted crime and lawlessness to go unchecked in our society. A spirit of rebellion, under the guise of demanding equal rights and equality, has seized upon the spiritual vacuum in our youth and fanned the flames of anarchy in their hearts. Let this serve as a warning, for when the righteous and law abiding are silent, the wicked are strengthened and “walk on every side.” Should we continue to elect the “vilest men,” lawlessness will prevail.

Yet, we should never forget the LORD’s promises are forever true. David aptly stated: that God’s promises, laws, and commandments are “as silver tried in a furnace of wrath, purified seven times (Psalm 12:6). The LORD will keep and preserve all who trust in Him (Psalm 12:7).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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