Psalm chapter 12 is a really dark chapter; it’s gritty and it’s raw and it’s almost repulsive to read at first.
David is either on the run from King Saul, a man whom David has looked to as a father figure for years who is now hunting him down to kill him out of jealousy, or he’s running from his son Absalom, who is attempting to oust his father from his throne.
Either way, David feels all alone and the world he sees around him is full of wickedness and he’s crying out to God to save him.
We know what this is like right? We look around us in the world today and all we see is wickedness and evil prevailing on every side. Look at how David describes it…
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.
It’s easy to relate to David when he says in verses 1 – 2 that “the godly one is gone… the faithful have vanished… everyone utters lies to his neighbor… with flattering lips and double heart they speak.”
You don’t have to look very far to witness scores of people in our day-and-age who believe as David says in verse 4 that “with our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
It’s not hard to look around us and see that like David in verse 8, we are surrounded “on every side [by] the wicked who prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.”
The audacity, the pride, the arrogance, the wickedness and the utter pervasiveness of evil that is on display in this chapter is absolutely gut wrenching.
It reminds me of the feeling I get whenever I turn on the news feed. How often have you witnessed the craziness of the world we live in and felt your heart crying out to God for justice; for things to be made right; for wicked and vile people to get what they deserve?
This is what David does in verse 3 when he says, “May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts.” David longs for justice to prevail. He longs for the wicked to get what is due to them.
But in the midst of David’s lament of the horror of the wickedness and the evil he sees around him, he finds hope in the Lord in verse 5 when he says that “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise… I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
In other words, even though the wicked generation surrounding David uses their words to inflict evil, David trusts the Word of the Lord who promises that complete justice will have the final word in the last chapter.
David isn’t messing around here. He’s not giving lip service to a book that he reads every once in a while. All of David’s hope is resting on the trustworthiness and the perfection of God’s Word.
This is loud and clear in verses 6 – 7 when David says, “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.”
I get the sense as I read this Psalm that David is a man who isn’t afraid to speak realistically about the world, he lives in. He isn’t afraid to lament the horrors of evil and wickedness. He’s not afraid of speaking about the pain and the loss and the loneliness that comes with living in a sin-soaked society.
But, lament isn’t the same as complaining and it’s not the same as nostalgia. David isn’t complaining about how bad the world is and he’s not wishing that things would go back to the way they used to be in the good old days.
David is lamenting the fact that this world is not what it was meant to be. And as he laments the brokenness of this world he trusts in the faithful perfection of God’s promises.
David knows that whatever chapter of life he’s living in right now that the final chapter has not yet unfolded.
What chapter of life are you in right now? Many of us are experiencing the first six months of this year in profoundly different ways.
Most of us are experiencing the horrors of social injustice in ways that make us sick to our stomachs. Most of us have had it up-to-here with the polarizing deception of the political world.
Many of us have faced great fear because of the vastly differing narratives surrounding a deadly worldwide virus. Some of us are struggling under the weight of the loss of close friends or family members who turned out to be traitors.
Some of us face the loneliness and darkness of some secret addiction that ravages our souls. Others of us are barely keeping it together as we try to find our way through the darkness of the pain of a loved one’s death.
I don’t know what chapter of life you are in right now. I don’t know what kind of darkness seems to be closing in all around you as we speak. I don’t know what flood you feel like you’re drowning in and I don’t know what wickedness you fight every day.
But I do know this… the last chapter of your life has yet to unfold and you can trust that when the last chapter does indeed unfold, if you have trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior then in that final chapter you will stand victorious.
When David reminds us that “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs” (v.5) he’s reminding us that God gets the final word through the cross, the empty tomb and the promised return of Jesus for his people.
The cross of Christ reminds us of our ultimate salvation from the penalty of sin. The empty tomb of Jesus reminds us of our ultimate victory over Satan. The promised return of Christ to take us home to be with our Father in Heaven reminds us of our ultimate hope of everlasting life in the face of physical death.
In this life we will face trials and tribulations and temptation and failure and hurt and heartache and pain and loss and fear but “the words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times” (v. 6).
So, whatever chapter of life you are in right now, I want to invite you to find hope and rest and healing in the faithful and pure promises of the Lord.
I want to invite you to find healing and wholeness at the foot of the bloody cross, in the doorway of the empty tomb as you hold on to the promise of no more sickness, no more pain, no more sin, and no more tears with your Father in Heaven.
The final chapter of your life has yet to unfold because God gets the final word. Amen!