A Psalm of David

Another Psalm by Israel’s great shepherd-king.

1.  Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases!

This statement seems somewhat confusing by itself, as it seems to say that the godly man stops doing something.  But the following line will make its meaning clear to us.

For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.

This explains the previous line.  What David is lamenting is the disappearance of godly and faithful men from the earth.  It seems as if there are fewer and fewer men who behave in a godly way and who remain faithful to the LORD.  Although there are probably many times and situations in the history of the earth to which this psalm could apply, it seems that David is specifically speaking of the very time in which we live: the closing days of the dispensation of grace and the time immediately preceding God’s intervention in the affairs of men and the advent of His Kingdom on earth.

2.  They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;

“Idle” words are empty words spoken without the means of backing them up.  Many such idle words are bandied about today.  Many seem to think that by their talking they can banish the LORD and His righteous ways from the earth.  Their empty words fill the culture around us, seeping to us from the television we watch, the movies we attend, and the friends and acquaintances we come in contact with.  Everyone seems to think in ungodly ways and discourage faithful conduct.  Where are the godly and faithful who are willing to stand against the tide of falsehood and speak the truth?

Recently I watched the Final Fantasy movie, and heard once again the empty philosophies of Japanese humanism and New Age religion.  The heroes of the movie were trying to rescue “Gaia,” the living spirit of the earth.  I was struck with how empty their religion really is.  What possible concern could the spirit of the earth have for me?  Does the spirit of the earth know me?  Does it love me?  Would it die for me?  Of course not!  So then why would I want to care for it so much and worship it as these people do?  These words are merely empty.  There is no hope, no reason for living, in them.  Yet the words of the LORD are not like this!

With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

Always those who speak these empty words have a hidden motive for speaking them.  How often are the actual points of TV shows and movies reflections of their creators’ desires to be free from God and responsibility to their Creator!  Though they always claim to have the best of intentions for what they do, their words are really meant to flatter those who listen and blind them to the fact that they only speak thus in hopes of justifying their wicked actions.

3.  May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,

By the Prayer/Prophecy Principle, we know that this prayer will actually come true.  Yea, our only hope to truly defeat the cunning lies of the world around us is the action of the LORD to stop their empty words for all time!

And the tongue that speaks proud things.

The lips in the first line and the tongue here stand for the people who speak these things.  How proud are the humanistic philosophies we are bombarded with on every side!   Yet these proud and boastful teachings will come to an end when the LORD goes into action at last.

4.  Who have said,

The LORD reveals to us the motivations of those who speak these proud and empty words.

“With our tongue we will prevail;

Indeed, the wicked seem to have reason for thinking this, for even now we can see how the proud and empty words we are constantly hearing are turning the hearts and minds of our culture away from God.  It seems anyone who speaks against God is protected and honored, while anyone who speaks for Him and what is right is labeled as mean and bigoted.  Yet this unfair condition of things will not last forever!

Our lips are our own:

Thus they suppose that they will never be called into account for the things they say.  How wrong they are!

Who is lord over us?”

No man can stop these empty words that boast themselves against God, and thus these speakers imagine that they have no master who is able to stop them.

5.  “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy,

Now our Lord speaks and reveals to us His reasons for going into action and putting a stop to the words of these ungodly men.  The poor are the wretched, and the needy are those in want.  It is always the innocent and helpless who suffer most from the proliferation of lawless behavior.  Even now in our society we can see that it is the children who suffer most for the selfishness and promiscuity of their parents.

Now I will arise,” says the LORD;

For these wretched and needy the LORD will finally break His current nearly two-thousand years of silence and go into action at last.

“I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”

The oppressed and needy need no longer fear those who had formerly so terrified and mistreated them.  When the LORD goes into action, there will be nothing left for them to fear, for He will deal with these empty talkers Himself.

6.  The words of the LORD are pure words,

The words of the LORD are now to be contrasted with the empty words that are spoken by the men of our day.

Like silver tried in a furnace,

The way silver is tried is by melting it.  All the impurities come out of the silver and float to the top.  This top layer, which is called the dross, is then scooped off, and only the pure silver is left underneath.  This is how the words of the LORD are.  He has removed all impurities from them so that only words of true value remain.

Of earth,

Although in my Bible these two words are at the end of the previous line and made to define the type of furnace, I believe that they are in reality a new line that further defines the LORD’s words.  There is no real teaching in the fact that the furnace used to try silver might be made of earth.  However, there is great teaching revealed to us in the fact that the LORD uses words of the earth.  These words in the time when they were written were the normal Hebrew and Greek words that men would use in everyday conversation.  Koine Greek especially was a language of the people and not at all a scholarly or exalted dialect of Greek.  The actual words that the LORD used were, in and of themselves, no different from the words in use by everyone else.  Those who think there is something sacred in the Old English dialect in which the King James Version is written don’t get the idea that the LORD’s words are meant to be no different than normal words of the earth.

Purified seven times.

Yet though the words the LORD uses are just the usual words of the earth that are in everyday use, yet there is a great difference between His words and the idle words of men.  His words are purified seven times.  Returning to the silver example, one such melting is often not sufficient to totally purify the silver, so often the silver will be cooled down and melted again to remove even more dross from it.  A silversmith might repeat this process several times, yet few would go so far as seven.  Silver tried that many times would be pure indeed, as pure as anything on earth could possibly be.

That is how the words of the LORD are.  He has taken these normal, everyday words of the earth and purified them so that they take on a new character entirely.  Our words are always diminished by the dross of impurity, yet not so with His words.  His words are pure, as pure as anything on earth could possibly be.  Not one of them is idle or empty, but they all have great meaning and import.  Not one of them is incorrect, selfish, sinful, or proud.  They are pure in every way, and fully dependable in every respect.  How privileged we are that He has entrusted these pure, pure words to us in His Word!

7.  You shall keep them, O LORD,

Although this may be speaking of the LORD’s words, for He certainly keeps them and has for thousands of years now, yet it most likely is speaking of those who hear these righteous words and receive them.  Though the godly and faithful appear to be decreasing, yet we are assured that those who do hear the LORD’s pure words will be preserved from the idle words of ungodly men.

You shall preserve them from this generation forever.

In this line, “them” is singular, and should read “him.”  The one who keeps the words of the LORD will not fall prey to the idle words generated by the world in which we live.  How important it is for us to know the Word of God and keep it!  How else will we escape from the empty words of deception that are spoken and believed all around us?

8.  The wicked prowl on every side,

Yes, how true this is of today, when we are surrounded by godless men!

When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

The sons of men here and in verse one are the sons of Adam, which we all are.  And how indicative of today are these words!  It seems our society could hardly pick more vile people to exalt than those it does.  Actors are promoted to an almost godlike status, and yet their actions are vile in the extreme.  Athletes are considered heroes by thousands of children, and yet often their lives are full of excess and vice.  Our society worships youth and beauty, and yet so often our young and beautiful are those who act in the most ungodly and lawless ways.  Yes, it is a sad state of affairs that we are in indeed!  Our only hope is for the LORD to arise as He has promised and put a stop to all this vileness.

To the chief Musician.

This is another psalm dedicated to this man, and thus to be used for public worship.  All men need to know the difference between the idle words of men and the sevenfold-pure words of the LORD.  All need to know that God will soon arise to help the wretched and needy.  All need to understand that, though wicked men increase, those who hear the LORD’s words and live godly and faithful lives will never disappear completely from the earth.  How important is this lesson for us today as we see conditions worsening more and more around us and hope for the action of the LORD to at last put a stop to all this misery and deception!