David prays a powerful indictment of epidemic lying and proponents of wickedness in Psalm 12. He aligns with God’s hatred for untruth. He pleads for the Lord to rescue, to save, to guard. He prays,
“Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man. Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart the speak” (Psalm 1:1-2).
In the last two weeks, three widely publicized events designed to take innocent life occurred in the United States. Bombs were mailed to politicians and news organizations, a man murdered two adults in a convenience store (apparently because of their race), and a man ruthlessly killed worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue. As we contemplate these events, we can only describe them as vile. We pray for those who grieve the deaths of loved ones, but we must also pray for the saving of a culture where this kind of violence takes place, perpetrated by people who believe they are doing the right thing. They may be mentally ill, but they appear to have believed a lie, whether they have fabricated it themselves or if they heard or read it elsewhere.
Like the Psalmist, we pray because the godly seem to have gone and, as he writes in verse eight, “on every side the wicked prowl.” We pray that leaders will speak truth. We pray that we may discern correctly what is true and what is false, that we may realize what is innocent and what is horribly evil. The “poor are plundered” and “the needy groan.” We pray that the Lord will arise and right wrongs. Where may we go for direction in confusing and angry times like our own? David states as he prays,
“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” (Psalm 12:6-7).
I pray that we will ally ourselves with David in our abhorrence of lying and our grieving over the taking of innocent life. May our hearts remain sensitive, so that we will be repelled by evil rather than tolerating it as just part of life.
- Biblical quotations are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.