As in previous psalms, David is going to encourage the godly as to how to handle the treacherous people that we encounter in this world. His answer will ultimately be the same, that we let God have vengeance and we patiently endure together. This is a psalm and it was included in the hymn book of Israel. From the text, we can see that David has written this Psalm and it is given to the choir director to be performed upon the eight-string lyre.
Let’s read Psalm 12 before we get started.
God, a Helper against the Treacherous.
For the choir director; upon an eight-stringed lyre. A Psalm of David.
1Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be, For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. 2They speak falsehood to one another; With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak. 3May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, The tongue that speaks great things; 4Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail; Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?” 5“Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy, Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs.” 6The words of the Lord are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times. 7You, O Lord, will keep them; You will preserve him from this generation forever. 8The wicked strut about on every side When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.
(1) – The Outcry of the Righteous
(2-4) – The Utterances of the Wicked
(5-8) – The Pure Word of the Lord
The Outcry of the Righteous (1)
We have to make our plea to the Lord and He will hear the righteous cry. Last episode we completed a lesson titled “What Can The Righteous Do?”, and this week David will continue to express some things that the righteous can do in the midst of a world full of unrighteous people. He repeats that He turns to the Lord first.
The first question that I have for you is where do you look for help? To whom do we make our case? The first two words of this song tell us where David looks for help when he says “Help, Lord.” David is not turning to the wisdom of men but he is seeking the divine assistance and salvation of the Lord. The phrase literally means, “Save Lord.”
David states the godly are ceasing to exist. His primary concern is that the godly man is being targeted. The righteous have not ceased to be righteous but rather are being picked off by those who are unrighteous. In some cases, God could be sparing them from the wicked world in taking them out of it, but in this situation the wicked are the cause (See Isaiah 57:1-2). David expresses this reality by saying that they disappear from among the sons of men. There is still a remnant, including David, but it is obvious that the righteous are in decline. This could mean that they are being killed for their faith or they are driven away into bondage in a foreign land. From these two statements we might get the idea that the righteous people have vanished from the world. They are not parting by choice. As we will see in the remainder of the Psalm, David is going to talk about the efforts of the treacherous to wipe out the righteous or faithful man (See Micah 7:2).
The Utterances of the Wicked (2-4)
David begins by crying out about the evil atrocities of the wicked among the righteous.
He now sheds some light on what the wicked are doing. First, they speak falsely to one another. This is probably in reference to the lies that they spread about those that are serving God, leading the faithful servant of God to suffer wrongfully.
Next, they flatter with their lips and have a double heart as they speak (See Prov. 26:28). Flattery is misleading and it causes people to become two faced. They say one thing and act in a different manner. They make you believe lies and trick you into a trap that they have set up for you (Proverbs 29:5). The Bible warns often of being double-minded (James 1:8; 4:8). Such people are unstable in all their ways. We need to let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no”, “no” (Matthew 5:37; James 5:12). God hates liars and those who flatter with their lips (Proverbs 6:16-19). They are destined for a fiery hell as God who cannot lie will not have fellowship with the darkness of falsehood (Rev. 21:8). Lying is an abomination to the Lord. We are warned to put away falsehood and speak truthfully with one another and about one another (Eph. 4:25).
David asks God to punish the wicked. As is customary for David, he now offers a plea to God to cut off the lying and flattering lips and tongues of the treacherous. This is literally a word used for cutting them off from the community. In other words, don’t just remove their lips and tongues, but completely remove those that lie and flatter from among the righteous in the same manner that the righteous man is vanishing from the land.
The wicked are full of arrogance and speak with pride. The words of these wicked men are captured here in two phrases. First they say, “With our tongues we will prevail”. Next, they add, “Our lips are our own, who is lord over us?” In other words, we will speak and with our words secure our own victory by continuing to lie and flatter and no one can stop us because we rule our own life. This is a terrible perspective and erroneous stance on how one is to conduct themselves before God and before our fellow man. The Bible is clear that we either serve God as Lord of our life or we are by default making the god of this world, Satan, the one that we surrender to and obey. There is no middle ground where we get to choose complete independent rule apart from the Lord God or the evil one who dwells in the pits of hell. The contrast between the righteous and the wicked is plain in this psalm. David, a righteous man, is praising God and seeking His favor while the wicked use their tongues to lie and flatter and state that no one can stop them from speaking. They have exalted themselves above God and do not feel like they will have to give answer for their actions before Him.
The Pure Word of the Lord (5-8)
God will be moved to act for the righteous and against the ungodly according to His word. God is aware of every affliction of those who are devastated, and he knows all of our needs before we implore Him. When we serve Him, the Bible promises that He is our deliverer. Here the text states that God initiates a move to rescue the godly ones because of what they have had to endure in this wicked world from the hands of evil men.
While the wicked lie in wait, panting (most translations say puffing) like a wild animal with an open mouth at the opportunity to pounce on and destroy the righteous, God intervenes and destroys their schemes with His plans and promises. The puffing or panting here is in connection with the breath taken before uttering their vain attacks and their false beliefs that with their words they could blow the righteous away from their straight path before the Lord and claim victory over them (See Acts 9:1).
When we sigh and cry for the help of God, praising Him and praying to Him, He also hears our groaning and sighs for help and is moved to aid us and take us into a safe place away from our enemies (Psalm 56:1-4; Psalm 66:8-9). Nothing stirs a father to come to the aid of his children like their outcry for help. God is moved when His sons and daughters pray for assistance and sigh for much needed relief from enemies in the world.
The word of the Lord stands and will be the bar of judgment for all. So far in our study we have seen the words of the righteous crying for help and the sinful words of the ungodly railing against God and His people. God’s word is now held up here as the standard. Heaven and earth will pass away but the word of the Lord abides forever (Matthew 24:35).
God’s word is pure and lovely and will be used as the standard for judgment against all men. The righteous rejoice at His word because in it we find great and precious promises for deliverance and the vengeance of the Lord against those that have persecuted and killed the faithful servants of God (Proverbs 30:5-6; Psalm 18:30; 119:140).
The word of the Lord can be trusted because it has been smelted a perfect amount (7 times refers to making it perfectly pure) and there is no trace of dross in His word after it has passed through the crucible of the workshop. There is no falsehood in what His word reveals. His word is truth (John 17:17; Psalm 119:160). We can trust in His revelation (Ps.19:7-14).
Right after David pronounces the word of the Lord as purely refined silver, he states that God will keep His promises to His people. The word “them” in verse 7 is in reference to the godly ones who are needy from verse 5 but also incorporates the word of His protection for His people. God will preserve His people by that same word forever and ever.
The word “generation” is often uses to refer the wicked people amongst those walking with God (Matt. 17:17; Acts 2:40). God never changes and He will always keep His promises to His people, while punishing the ungodly (Psalm 37:3-7). God will also protect the posterity of the righteous perpetually while they serve Him faithfully. (Psalm 14:4-5).
Prior to the vengeance of God’s people, it appears that the unrighteous of the world parade proudly their fleeting and vain babblings as if to claim to be victorious (II Timothy 3:1-6). They do not seem to be restrained or limited in their pursuit of the godly ones (Malachi 3:15). They are literally on every side or surrounding the godly, to overwhelm them with terror (Psalm 36:11). But no matter how they present themselves with puffed up chests and noses to the sky they are vile people that have evil at the core of their heart and their end is destruction by the hand of God (Isaiah 40:30-31). It is our duty to wait upon the Lord and His word will prevail, the godly will be saved, the ungodly will be punished and sent to everlasting torment. While in this world we are promised that will endure much tribulation on our journey to heaven, we trust that the Lord will be true and He will sustain the faithful until they receive the crown of eternal life.
If you have a spiritual need, please reach out to me and I will be glad to assist you with prayer or I can get you connected with a sound church in your area. Have a blessed day!