The first thing that “jumps out” in Psalm 12 is the first two words, “Help, Lord,” – what a short, simple, and yet complete prayer! Have you ever had “one of those days”, “and the frustration, tension, or whatever, got so had that all you could think to say was “Help, Lord”? That was what David must have been experiencing.
We often admire a person whose prayers are smooth, polished, and eloquent; but in those two somewhat desperate words, David speaks volumes! We can visualize the thought of danger, helplessness, isolation, and many other dark feelings. It pictures in the mind a small child lost in the dark. That child is not worried about smooth delivery or grammar; all that little one can say is “Help, Daddy!” That’s probably close to what David was feeling when he wrote those words.
As we look at the conditions David was describing, the reasons for his despair become clear. The faithful and true followers of God seemed to have vanished. A man’s word was no longer his bond. Lying was the rule and not the exception. “Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception”. The attitude of the day was, “…we will triumph with our tongues; we own our lips – who is our master?” The people that are described in Psalm 12 were far from God and centered upon themselves.
If we did not know better, we could be persuaded that Psalm 12 was written today rather than centuries before the birth of Christ. As we consider David’s inspired words, the question arises, “How can people read such passages and still believe that the Bible does not apply today?” To the faithful, the proof is so clear. Christians today see the same types of situations that David wrote about.
The answer to that question is found in II Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers.” The influence of Satan is constantly being felt in the world. Many people are not concerned about their relationship with God. Their response to Jesus Christ and the Gospel will be anything from apathy to hostility.
Even some people, who profess to be Christians, practice a double standard in terms of how they live their lives. On Sunday, their words and actions are very proper, but during the week, there seems to be no difference between them and a person who is light-years away from God. The popular attitude of today IS stated very clearly in Psalm 12:4 “…we will triumph; with our tongues; we own our lips – who is our master?'”
The growing ranks of the ungodly should bring sadness to a Christian. The incredible gift of salvation is being offered to the world, yet most will not accept it. The picture shown in the first four verses is grim but, as David often does, the scene shifts from the situation in the world to the Lord. “Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise’, says the Lord. ‘I will protect them from those who malign them’.”
At times we may be oppressed or needy, and we wonder if ANYONE, especially the Lord, knows what we are going through. The answer is a very clear – YES! The Lord knows what we face. He also knows what we SHOULD have faced for Him! The Father knows the needs of His people, and He does take an active hand in our lives. We may not see it, but God is continuously working in our lives to change us, to strengthen us, and to protect us.
David described the maliciousness and lies of the world, but he also wrote in verse 6, “… the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.” In this verse, David compared the word of the Lord to the process of purifying silver. In David’s time, the process of purifying silver was the most severe type of purification known. It involved the repeated passing of the silver ore through the furnace until every spot of impurity was burned off.
The word of God has that kind of purity. In any world or society, there will be lies and deceit. Sometimes the days seem to grow darker. What is always pure and true? What can we trust? Shakespeare wrote, “Beware the promises of kings”. By painful experience we often find the promises of the government, the reassurances of banks and insurance companies are false. What place is there in this society for a man or woman that tries to live a good, ethical, moral life?
But the Word of the Lord is pure and true. His promises are certain. His warnings are clear. Our salvation comes from our being joined to Jesus Christ. Through His life, death, and resurrection the Way is open to salvation. The Word of God is the light that will show us the path, and will illuminate the dangers on our journey.
Stay focused. Pray for those who are lost. Be alert to opportunities that will come. Avoid the traps of the world, and when you feel surrounded or discouraged, don’t hesitate to cry out, “Help Lord!”, for He is here! Jim Shelburn