# 74 A journey through the Psalms. Truths to help us to “…live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received.” (Ephesians 4:1). # Twenty: Psalm 12 It’s only words!

holidays-254

“It’s only words, and words are all
I have to take your heart away.” (“Words”, by the Bee Gees, 1977)

 

The world is full of words – written  and spoken. In these incredible days we live in words travel the earth at break neck speed via mobile phones, emails, facebook, twitter, just to name of few.

 

Words can be lifesaving or soul destroying, encouraging or discouraging, helpful or destructive, giving life or bringing death.

 

God understands this and here are a couple of things that we read in his word:

 

“A man of knowledge uses words with restraint…Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent…” (Proverbs 17:27-28)

 

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.” (James 3:9-10)

 

And in Psalm 12 words are mentioned, here contrasting the words of evil men with those of God:

 

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbour;
they flatter with their lips
but harbor deception in their hearts.

May the Lord silence all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue—
those who say,
“By our tongues we will prevail;
our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”

“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.”
And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver purified in a crucible,
like gold refined seven times.

You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
and will protect us forever from the wicked,
who freely strut about
when what is vile is honoured by the human race.

 

More than any time in human history our words have incredible power due to the media and the fact that what someone says can be heard, seen or read by millions of people, and that almost in an instant. And generally, there is no possibility of turning back, no possibility of retracting what was spoken or written. For example, just consider the “conversations” happening between the candidates for the next president of the USA. One wonders when these two adults will begin to seriously regret some of the things they have said!

 

On the positive side, as Eugene Peterson says, “It is the very nature of language to form rather than inform. When language is personal, which it is at its best, it reveals; and revelation is always formative – we don’t know more, we become more. Our best users of language, poets and lovers and children and saints, use words to make – make intimacies, make character, make beauty, make goodness, make truth.” (Eugene Peterson Eat This Book – The Art of Spiritual Reading Hodder and Stoughton 2006)

 

Sadly though, it is just as true on the negative side. How many people have been “formed” from lies, flattery, deceptive words, words of pride and evil self-serving words.

 

I guess we have all been subject to them. Some of us were bought up with such words, forming us in such a way that we believed a lie (or many lies) for too long. Words such as, “You are useless and will never make anything of your life!” Then when we eventually came to our senses, realizing just how deceived we had been, maybe we felt like crying out like the psalmist: “Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. Everyone lies… what is vile is honoured by the human race.” Or maybe it was more like, “”I can’t believe the lies I was told. I’m not sure who I can trust ever again!”

 

Having lived a life surrounded by lies and unfaithfulness, when I was 19, Jesus intervened in my life and I discovered Him who among other things claimed, “I am the way and the TRUTH and the life.” ( John 14:6) and this Truth, said Jesus, “shall set you free.” (John 8:32) He set me free!

 

The truthful and reliable words of God are described by David as:

“…flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.”

 

He elaborates on this even more in Psalm 19:7-10, 12 when he says:

 

“God’s Word is perfect in every way,                                                                                                  How it revives our souls!                                                                                                                           His laws lead us to truth,                                                                                                                          and his ways change the simple into wise.                                                                                          His teachings make us joyful and radiate his light;                                                                          His precepts are so pure!                                                                                                                           His commands, how they challenge us                                                                                                   To keep close to his heart!                                                                                                                        The revelation-light of his Word makes my spirit shine radiant.                                           Every one of the Lord’s commands are right,                                                                        Following them brings cheer.                                                                                                        Nothing he says ever needs to be changed.                                                                                        The rarest treasures of life are found in his truth.                                                                       That’s why I prize God’s Word like others prize the finest gold.                                            Nothing brings the soul such sweetness                                                                                                As seeking his living words…                                                                                                         Without this revelation-light                                                                                                                How would I ever detect                                                                                                                            The waywardness of my heart.”   (The Passion Translation)

 

 

Thank God that we have such free access to God’s truth, wherever we might live in the world.

 

And the truth is that even though we may feel like the psalmist at times when he said, “no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race…Everyone lies to their neighbour; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts… the poor are plundered and the needy groan… the wicked…freely strut about when what is vile is honoured by the human race”, there is still hope. And that hope is in God who says in reply,

 

“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.”
You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
and will protect us forever from the wicked…”
And remember, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7).

Father, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be always pure and pleasing, acceptable before you. Amen