Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 12
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms
The good news of Psalm 12 is God’s Word is always trustworthy.
The bad news of the psalm is don’t bet the farm on anyone else’s words.
It’s right at the top of the list of the Scout’s Law: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
We could put it another way.
Because true to their oath-law-motto Scouts are trustworthy, we can count on them to be loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
Trustworthiness seems to be the foundation of all of the other character traits of Scouts.
Unfortunately, this psalm is David’s conclusion that too many folks have broken trust by not being true to their oath-law-motto and, therefore, can’t be trusted to be true to their oath-law-motto.
Some folks just can’t be trusted because they are not true to their words.
With these being those prophesied days when lies are substituted for truth, we can no longer trust too many words being consistent with the Word; or as I’ve come to believe, as an example, any connection between too many churches and Jesus by the book is as coincidental as too many politicians, lawyers, and judges to our Constitution.
Just as recent history suggests the current national leadership of Scouts isn’t as faithful to the origin of Scouting’s values in Holy Scripture as it used to be, there’s always been the temptation to substitute humanly invented/nuanced words for the enfleshed Word of God in Jesus and explained Word of God in Holy Scripture.
Keeping in mind that David probably wrote this psalm after realizing he could no longer trust Saul, Absalom, and many others, he contrasts human words from God’s Word.
In a kind of you-are-what-you-eat etiology, David is saying words matter and betray what’s really going on in a person’s head, heart, and gut.
In other words, what we say is most often who we are.
Take note as you listen to the words of Barr, Fonda, Bee, Behar, Kimmel, Comey, Trump, and…you…and me…and everyone!
This psalm laments words exposing a sad distance between too many people and God; especially those words that are less than the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Human words often lie, flatter, deceive, boast, and honor the unGodly: “The loyal have disappeared from the human race…Lies slide off their oily lips…They doubletalk with forked tongues…They use flattery to deceive to darkness…They brag, ‘We can talk anyone into anything!’…They use nice-sounding words to destroy who and what are good.”
Have you ever taken your car to a dealer for a simple oil change?
Have you ever gone to the dentist and wondered how your teeth can feel so good yet need so many expensive repairs?
Ever listen to news from the left or right and wonder if everyone’s faking it – aka lying – to advance their ideology with Machiavelli, not Jesus directing?
No wonder we never tire of this familiar jest that’s getting less and less and less funny every day: “How do you know a politician is lying? His mouth is moving!”
When we watch the news or listen to a political press conference from any side, we know why one party hack put this little placard on his desk: “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time. Not bad odds!”
Yeah, there may be a commandment about it, but human words are often punctuated by less than veracity.
In our ghetto, it’s often astoundingly bewildering and befuddling and downright aggravating when we hear church members, officers, and pastors say things so contrary to their ordination promises founded in Holy Scripture.
How can they say they are faithful to Jesus by the book when they say things so antithetical to Jesus by the book?
I think it’s because they didn’t understand the ordination promises about being faithful to Jesus by the book and don’t even know they’re lying…or never really believed those promises and just lied because they spent so many years preparing for something about Someone and don’t have the money or time or integrity to start over….or changed their minds about Jesus by the book after they were ordained and, again, don’t have the integrity to quit…or they’re a part of that eschatological reality of bad guys slithering in with the good guys to steal salvation through the kind of lying strategies mentioned by David in this psalm.
Parenthetically, when Hosea looked around and saw everything going to everywhere but heaven in a way that brings America’s current challenges to mind (read Hosea 4 for the startling parallels), he clearly fingered those who were to blame: “But let no one accuse and let none contend and don’t try to blame anyone or anything else because the Lord’s accusation is against you priests and pastors and officers and phoney-baloney-posing God-squaders! Because you have not told the truth and because you don’t even believe the truth for yourselves which is why you haven’t told the truth, my people are being destroyed!”
If we believe America and her churches are really going anywhere but to heaven, it’s time to admit the perditious parade is being led by pastors, politicians, professors, and the like who have substituted their words for the Word.
Thinking we are smarter than God and can substitute human invention for divine revelation is a lie so big that there’s not enough room in heaven for it.
Never forget lies never honor God, never advance the Kingdom, and never save.
Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life.
Truth is Godly.
Lies are not.
Truth comes from our Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Lies come from the father of lies.
By categorical contrast, David celebrates the completely consistent trustworthiness of God: “God’s words are pure words…God’s Word guards and protects us…God’s Word is even purer than seven-times-purified silver.”
In short, Psalm 12 assures us that God can always be trusted; but when it comes to anyone else, watch your back.
Ever have somebody throw you under the bus?
You know what I mean.
Some people will do anything to anyone to get ahead – lie and accuse and betray and…all of those things listed as unGodly character traits in this psalm.
David says there are too many people like that in this world.
Then, he rejoices, there is God.
God’s truth is highlighted by an irrepressible passion for our existential and eternal welfare.
God doesn’t throw us under the bus.
He always provides and guides and protects and saves.
Though this psalm says, “No one faithful remains…The last decent person just went down…All the friends I depended on are gone,” we know David is exaggerating his sadness at least a tad.
There were faithful people who stood by David’s side against Saul, Absalom, and the enemies of God.
There are faithful people in America who are still esteeming the Word of God in Jesus by the book.
I don’t claim to know whose side is bigger.
I go back and forth on that.
Pero it doesn’t really matter because we know who wins in the end.
It’s like a friend of mine who went to a very, very, very troubled church that I know many years ago and said, “You’re wondering which side I’m going to be on. Well, I’m not going to be on any side but His.”
The only One worth trusting…totally!
Blessings and Love!