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    November 28, 2017


    In a fallen world, God's people will always be in the minority: the few on the narrow path “that leads to life.” Consequently, believers will encounter an increasing number of those on the broad path “that leads to destruction” (Matt 7:13-14), who oppose the purpose and will of God. If the Lord’s people are to persevere, they must depend upon God as a Helper when “the godly man ceases to be” (Ps 12:1). Only the Lord God is able to provide help when the unbelieving majority outnumbers “the faithful.”

    "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matt 7:13-14).

    Psalm 11 depicted a national crisis in which the moral “foundations” were being “destroyed” (v. 3). Psalm 12 is a sobering assessment for when “the faithful disappear from among the sons of men” (v. 1). The moral absolutes of God’s revealed Law formed the basis for the godly society in which God’s people lived. Psalm 12 is a cry to the Lord for help when a once godly society in which God’s people abided was declining rapidly. All manner of ungodliness was prevalent in the absence of God’s Word and prayer. Believers found themselves the minority in society and questioned how to live godly in an ungodly society.

    When the godly remnant decreases, “the faithful” may feel alone and their outcry becomes, “Help, Lord” (v. 1). What indicated that faithfulness was disappearing? The answer is the manner in which people spoke with “flattering lips” and arrogant, oppressive words (vv. 2-3). Godliness was disappearing, society was disintegrating, truth discounted, and sin dominant. The “Information Age” poses challenges for discerning between what is truth and uprightness. In such perilous and treacherous times, believers must trust in the promises and protection of God to persevere.

    The drastic contrast between human speech and the promises of God is that the Lord speaks with “pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times” (Ps 12:6). God’s words are pure and trustworthy. The comparison of God’s words to silver indicates there is no dross of falsehood, which is reinforced by the phrase “refined seven times” (a figure of completeness). God’s Word is pure, unalloyed silver, which indicates the quality of his promises. When you speak, is the purpose to communicate or manipulate?

    God does not speak with falsehood. In contrast to words that are ephemeral and ignoble, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him” (Prov 30:5). Jesus prayed for his disciples to be sanctified “in the truth,” and stated “the truth” is the words of Scripture (John 17:17). Trusting in God will never disappoint the godly because the Lord’s infallible and inerrant Word promises their defense, yet God’s servants are not exempt from the crucible that removes the dross in their lives (cf. Ps 66:10; Prov 17:3).

    God “will keep” and “preserve” his people (Ps 12:7). Peace is the disposition of the godly within tumultuous eras. Such peace, of course, is the blessing of knowing and therefore trusting God. Augustine wrote famously, ". . . you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they can find peace in you” (Confessions 1.1). Pascal wrote similarly,

    What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself (Pensées 148 [428]).

    The godly are promised the protection of the Lord from the ungodly society in which they may live. Conversely, the ungodly assume they are not accountable to God, and “vileness is exalted among the sons of men.” The repetition of “sons of men” (Ps 12:1, 8) emphasizes the mortality of the ungodly, in contrast to the hope of the believer in the eternal God.

    Psalm 12 concludes with the ungodly still honoring the worthless among men, yet the believer confesses that God is sovereign over the affairs of the world. As believers live in an ungodly society, they are not to follow the majority but to focus their dependence upon God’s Word and prayer as the means to living victoriously. He will set the godly “in the safety for which he longs” and “preserve him” (vv. 5, 8) because the words of the Lord are pure words (v. 6). Allow your words to be controlled by God’s Word, and the Lord will make your speech valuable (Prov 10:20; 25:11).

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