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A Season of Psalms: Psalm 12:1-4, 6

Psalm 12:1-4, 6

Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man. Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, those who say, ‘With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?’…The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.”

English Standard Version (ESV)

I was reminded of the power of words at a recent children’s choir concert. Dressed in their formal attire, the children would sing “Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax, hominibus bonae voluntatis.” I imagine probably only a few of the young children in the choir knew what those words meant (translated, it means “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, to all men).” I was amazed at how beautifully they sang and how much they believed in what they were singing, even if they didn’t know the exact meaning of the Latin. I have a soft spot for listening to children sing the praises of the Lord.

In Psalm 12, David wonders where the beauty of words has gone. The godly and faithful have vanished from the land, and everyone is doing as he or she sees fit. Lies run rampant; everyone flatters their neighbor and speaks from a double-minded heart. Boasting knows no bounds, and the wicked say in effect, “Who can stop us? Our lips are our lips, and we can do whatever we want!”

In a world where speech is vile and saturated with all kinds of uncleanness, aren’t you glad the

words of the Lord are pure? The psalm says that God’s words are pure, like silver that has been refined in a furnace, purified 7 times. In other words, it’s the purest silver known. With God, there is no deceit…no flattery…no double meaning…no error. His words can be fully trusted.

In the New Testament, James has much to say about the power of the tongue. It was an important matter to him that our tongues be used for the glory of God, not for the hurting of humanity. Since we are a redeemed people, bought at a high price, we are to live and act like a redeemed people, and it starts deep in our hearts, because “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” What is your heart saying today?

Further Reading: Luke 6:43-45; James 3:1-12

Pray with me:

Father, we are a people of unclean lips, and we live among a people of unclean lips. Our eyes want to see the King, the Lord of Hosts. Touch our lips today, and may we sing beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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