Thou Art Our Salvation

Psalm 12 
To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
[David prays]
1Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
2Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
3May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,
4those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
[God answers]
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.”
[David replies]
6The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
7You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.
8On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

If you want to do a lengthy study of something from the Scriptures, tackle the whole concept of the trouble we can face when falling victim to the untrue words others. The topic is dealt with over and over again in both the Psalm and Proverbs. In Psalm 12, David laments over the lies that people spread about him and terrible repercussions those lies have on his life. And I’m sad to say, we can probably all relate to his experience. It would the rare individual who has never experienced someone telling lies about them.

As always, David turns to God and while his words are pretty harsh (“cut off their lips”!) they are understandable. As a public figure, David most certainly had many people who would say anything to malign his character and tarnish his reputation as king. Anyone in a position of leadership is familiar with this situation. But God does not leave His child unattended. We run into the safety of God’s wings and He rises to protect us. David takes comfort from the Lord and from His Word. And there’s the learning point for today; David is willing to receive protection and comfort from God. I think that sometimes we would rather wallow in our pain than allow God to minister to us. And then we look to God and wonder why He didn’t help us. That may seem a little tangential, but I run into that attitude all the time. People complain all the time that God didn’t help them when others lied about them but in reality they didn’t actually seek Him out. Instead they carried their pain into the community and shared it with everyone except God. There’s a bad idea.

Martin Luther actually wrote a hymn using this Psalm as his inspiration while he was in the midst of his struggles with the Catholic Church. Those were desperate years for Luther as his very life was in danger and he had to live in hiding. I have provided the lyrics to that hymn below. The language is a little archaic but he gets the point across just the same. The best part of this hymn is that Luther lands in the same place as David - But Thou art our salvation

O Lord, Look Down from Heaven
Martin Luther, 1524 (Ach Gott von Himmel, sieh darein); composite translation.
O Lord, look down from Heaven, behold
And let Thy pity waken:
How few are we within Thy fold,
Thy saints by men forsaken!
True faith seems quenched on every hand,
Men suffer not Thy Word to stand;
Dark times have us o’ertaken.

With fraud which they themselves invent
Thy truth they have confounded;
Their hearts are not with one consent
On Thy pure doctrine grounded.
While they parade with outward show,
They lead the people to and fro,
In error’s maze astounded.

May God root out all heresy
And of false teachers rid us
Who proudly say: Now, where is he
That shall our speech forbid us?
By right or might we shall prevail;
What we determine cannot fail;
We own no lord and master.

Therefore saith God, I must arise,
The poor My help are needing;
To Me ascend My people’s cries,
And I have heard their pleading.
For them My saving Word shall fight
And fearlessly and sharply smite,
The poor with might defending.

As silver tried by fire is pure
From all adulteration,
So through God’s Word shall men endure
Each trial and temptation.
Its light beams brighter through the cross,
And, purified from human dross,
It shines through every nation.

Thy truth defend, O God, and stay
This evil generation;
And from the error of their way
Keep Thine own congregation.
The wicked everywhere abound
And would Thy little flock confound;
But Thou art our salvation.