that I might know you as you are, and manifest the image of Christ in this world,
and the world to come. Amen.
Again with the brutal honesty. Up front, David acknowledges that other potential sources of help have disappeared, for:
Ouch. In some ways, this is worse than explicit enemies, because then at least you know whom to not trust. Here, many people talk about helping, but fail to deliver; whether deliberately or naively, their promising-mouth is disconnected from their committed-heart. David thus has nobody he can trust — except the Lord:
The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, [and] the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips [are] our own: who [is] lord over us?
Yeah! Go God. Such language may seem harsh to modern ears, but only those that have not seen the incredible devastation that such lips can cause. When all human righteousness has fallen away, we expose ourself to the severity of God’s own judgement. Which isn’t pretty.
Still, that raises the question: when will God intervene? To whom does he listen?
In context, this is quite remarkable. It is one thing for God to say he’ll protect the rich from the unjust wrath the poor, or that he’ll anoint a righteous king to judge the wicked; things like that allow him to work through normal power structures and human effort.
But here, God is promising something wholly unnatural: safety (
, as in
/Jesus) for the poor and needy, despite the huffing and puffing of their powerful foes. Who is God to make such promises?
The words of the LORD [are] pure words: [as] silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
Alas, I am too much a child of post-modernity to even remember a time when “a man’s word was his bond.” Today, words mean what we want them to mean — which all too often means we want the appearance of sympathy and virtue without paying the price. This is in sharp contrast to David’s God, whose words were tested and pure, and produced exactly the appropriate expectations in his hearers. And would not fade away, for they are rooted in the depth of his character — the very foundations of existence:
Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
Given all that, the closing line is something of a shocker:
The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
There’s something disturbing about a Psalm that ends with the wicked freely strutting about. Then again, maybe that’s the point: God will still preserve us, even though the wicked still occupy the place of honor.
In other words, life is not a sitcom where every problem gets resolved in 30 minutes. Sometimes we just have to accept that God is still good, even though wickedness still prospers.
God, part of my despairs at the ongoing power of wicked men. Yet, another part of me rejoices in the thought of battle, knowing that there are still dragons to be slain, and glory to won. Hallelujah! Help me to know that you are real, and with, and that good is not just still worth pursuing, but especially worth pursuing when all around me seems shifting sands. For then all glory will be Christ’s alone. In Whose name I pray, Amen.
About the Title:
Today’s title is in honor of The Beach Boys.