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 neighbour; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
Do you ever feel that? I mean not in a proud way, where you have convinced yourself of your goodness. But where you feel like the endless stream of bad news and news of scandals and bribery and corruption are overwhelming. Where it feels like godliness, leadership integrity has vanished, and in their place lies double talk abounds. So we can identify with David’s lament here in this Psalm, he could have written this in 2020 in South Africa. The human problem is the same in every generation – sin.
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?”
David is tired of arrogant and boastful people who deceive and manipulate with their words. His prayer is that God would remove such people!
A great friend and father in the LORD (Mike Tabraham) always speaks of how when we have a problem with someone we should ‘speak to God about them before we speak to them’, and this is precisely what David does here.
You might not like David asking for God to ‘cut off’ people or to cut off their lips depending on how you read those verses, but it is way better taking that raw emotion to God than expressing it to others or doing something you regret later!
Lament is an amazing gift from God. God can handle our raw emotions with their peaks and troughs and their unsanctified requests. And when we lament about people or situations, we put ourselves in the presence of our Father who can and does speak to us and help us to gain His perspective if that is indeed what we need.
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.”
In this situation, David’s lament is echoed by God. It is not a lament God needs to re-shape in David because God shares David’s disgust. These wicked boastful deceiving people are acting unjustly towards the poor and needy. They are using their lies and influence to manipulate and oppress the poor, and God is moved to action!
Our God is a God of justice, a defender of the marginalised and the weak. I love the phrase God speaks; “I will now arise”! and “I will place him (the poor & needy person) in the safety which for which he longs.” God’s response shows His righteous character. Our God is very good, a very present help in trouble, always there, always fighting for the weak and the oppressed.
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.
God’s response elicits praise and worship in David. God’s words are pure! There is no one like our God; David knows that God will intervene; God is good and worthy of our praise.
So, when next you are unjustly treated, or you see injustice, take your raw emotions to God in lament. God can handle your emotions, God can re-shape your thoughts, and you can know that God will act when He sees injustice!