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 they speak. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?” Psalms 12:1-4 [ESV]
This lament of David complains that people’s behavior, particularly that associated with speech, has disappeared from human society. In this passage, it sounds as if he is the only one left. He mourns the loss of those who are faithful, but the Hebrew word here would be better rendered as ‘godly’. The Hebrew term is ḥāsîd, and is connected to the common word ḥesed, which means covenant love or loyalty. His stance is that those who live consistently by the requirements of the covenant are dwindling.
Verse 2 specifically identifies those who speak deceptively, as the problem. These people would violate the covenant by breaking the ninth commandment (‘You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor’, Deut. 5:20). Through a lot of the Proverbs there is promoting of healthy, honest speech over against society-destroying, foolish speech, including gossip, slander, flattery and outright lying. According to David the psalmist, there is a horrible lack of consistency between what these people say (they flatter with their lips) and what they think (but harbor deception in their hearts). They are hypocrites. In verses 3–4, the David delivers a drastic request against these evil speakers. Verse 4 also reveals that they lie, cheat, flatter and boast in order to dominate others.
Looking to how this passage applies to today is not hard. It seems to depict exactly what we see going on all around us in the world today. We live, work, and go to school in these environments. I feel like what the Lord is telling me here is that given the passages over the last couple of days, I have an opportunity to be a light by striving to be righteous in all my speech and living upright where what I do is a direct reflection on Who I serve. Some might say that this culture and society is so wicked…and that might be true, but these are wonderful places of opportunity to reflect the love and goodness of our Savior and His Gospel.
Herron Cabin update: well, they were able to get down all but 3 trees yesterday and so they will be back out Monday and Tuesday to finish and stump grind. However, my morning turned out to be a little interesting in finding out that we had no water pressure. My first thought was panic over a busted pipe from the bitter cold we have been having – in the teens here last night. Through a lot of troubleshooting, I have determined that the main water line from the street is frozen somewhere. The good news is that the meter is not running which means there is no break. However, I did have to tell Marianne and girls that it did not make sense for them to come if there was no running water, so we had to cancel those plans. I made a trip to the mainland and back today to get water and a couple of meals to hold out until the Tree Trimmers are done on Monday. Interesting learning to live without being able to flush, was the sink or dishes out, or anything. Makes you grateful for the assumed dependability of our water conveniences.