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Faithlife
Faithlife

Psalm 12

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Research
Theme: Human Flattery and Divine Speech (WBC)
Theme: Truth in a world of deception (Ross)
Truth is trampled underfoot in a corrupt society, and words are only tools of self-interest. But the certain word of God, given in an oraclelike response in 12:5, contrasts with the empty words of people.
Garrett, D. A. (1998). The Poetic and Wisdom Books. In D. S. Dockery (Ed.), Holman concise Bible commentary (p. 221). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
Context: While no specific context can be determined in this Psalm that was written by David, the Psalm indicates that there was a smaller number of people who were faithful to God - and they longed for deliverance from the corruption of the time. In this the Psalm is timeless: the world today is filled with liars and false flatterers so that the righteous do not know who to trust. The Psalm affirms that only God’s word can be trusted
Summary: In the midst of a culture that oppresses the poor with lies, false flattery, and arrogance, the psalmist expresses confidence in the pure word of God which assures hum that the Lord will protect those who look to him for safety (Ross).
(Ross).
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I. The Vain Speech of Wicked Persons (1-5)
The vain speech of wicked persons (12:2–5). The psalm begins abruptly with a cry for help, and then goes on to explain the reason for the request. On the one hand, good persons appear to have disappeared from the land; on the other hand, the wicked are rampant. In his distress, the psalmist encounters the experience of Elijah who, in a time of testing, also felt that he was the last upright person left in the land (). The psalmist could no longer discern the existence of a “faithful one,” viz. a covenant member whose life was characterized by that faithfulness and loving kindness which were of the very essence of the covenant relationship and life.
Craigie, P. C. (2004). (2nd ed., Vol. 19, pp. 137–138). Nashville, TN: Nelson Reference & Electronic.
[1. prayer for deliverance from liars and deceivers (1-4)]
[A. Cry of deliverance (1)]
1 Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
1 Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
Urgent cry where David is demanding help from God. E.g., Peter cried out when he was sinking. God has invited us to call out in need. Note now the conditions of David’s cry - the godly are disappearing and the ungodly is increasing. Moral collapse like today.
[B. Lament over lies and flattery (2)]
2 Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
2 Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
A man would rather face a lion than a liar - Spurgeon. At least you know what you are up against. A wolf looks like a dog, but its not. A liar looks like a friend, but he’s not!
C. David’s solution (3
[C. Prayer that the Lord will destroy the arrogant and impious people (3-4)]
3 May the Lord cut off (stop this! It’s causing our nation to crumble. Like the USA). all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,
4 those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us (lips are our weapons); who is master over us?”
Use lips to inflict pain on others.
The imagined words of the wicked (v 5) indicate the power within their grasp through the mastery of speech (cf. ), but their ultimate crime was that of hubris: Who will be our master?—and they believed the answer to be “No one”! The pride within them came forth in arrogant speech; refusing to acknowledge the mastery of God, they oppressed with their tongues the servants of God. So the psalmist prays that such speech be terminated (v 4).
Craigie, P. C. (2004). (2nd ed., Vol. 19, p. 138). Nashville, TN: Nelson Reference & Electronic.
[2. The Lord speaks: He assures David that he will deliver the poor who trust him for deliverance from oppression (5)]
5 “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise (divine action),” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
This is God’s response: God will arise in the midst of this vain speech for two reasons: (1) poor are plundered (2) needy groan
This is the center of the Psalm - God’s words in contrast to the words of the world.
II. The Sure Speech of God (6-9)
[3. The Psalmist expresses confidence in the untarnished word of God in the midst of a wicked world that exalts worthlessness (6-9)]
These are not subjective feelings that he has about God’s words, it is a fact that they have been proven pure (v.6).
[A. Desrcibes the Lord’s words as pure words (6)]
6 The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
By implication, the speech of wicked persons is all dross, devoid of silver and gold! That of God is pure silver, pure gold! It is devoid of the dross of flattery, vanity, and lies, and can therefore be relied upon absolutely.
Craigie, P. C. (2004). (2nd ed., Vol. 19, pp. 138–139). Nashville, TN: Nelson Reference & Electronic.
It is comforting to know that you can depend on the word of God. His words have been put through the furnace of testing many times and have been proven pure.
The words of the world are dross.
[B. Expresses confidence that the Lord will preserve the poor as promised (7)]
7 You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.
[C. Acknowledges the presence of the wicked around him (8)]
8 On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.
People may not like what the Word says, but it is true; therefore, we must read it, learn it, trust it, and share it.
The psalmist is not merely concerned to enunciate the existence of evil speech; he suffers from its lash and falsehood, and so is compelled to seek divine help. The deliverance from the power of impure speech is to be found in hearing the pure speech of God; having heard God’s speech, and having reflected upon its reliability, the psalmist achieves the trust and confidence (v 8) for which he had prayed (v 2). The danger experienced in mortal speech was to be repelled by the power inherent in divine speech. For those who experience the assault of evil speech, the solution is not to be found in the return of evil speech to enemies, but in confidence in the Word of God, which is firm and cannot be moved.
Craigie, P. C. (2004). (2nd ed., Vol. 19, p. 139). Nashville, TN: Nelson Reference & Electronic.
In our own day it seems as if the godly have disappeared and the faithful have vanished. But “even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land” (12:8), we too can have confidence that the Lord will protect and preserve us. He has promised to rise up and rescue us, and his word is as reliable as his Word. We have confidence in his promise, because we have seen it fulfilled in part already. He has already risen up once “to take away the sins of many people,” and he will rise up again “to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him” (). So we wait, confidently trusting his pure promise.
Futato, M. D. (2009). The Book of Psalms. In Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 7: The Book of Psalms, The Book of Proverbs (p. 65). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Final
(ESV)
To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
1 Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
2 Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,
4 those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
5 “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
6 The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
7 You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.
8 On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.
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