“The Words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times” Psalm 12:6 (ESV).
This powerful declaration gives strength and hope. We place our faith in The Word because it is God’s message, true and strong. However, the context in Psalm 12 does not allow us to snip out this comforting verse, and ignore the rest of the Psalm.
The Psalmist confronts the ungodly words that swarm around him like wasps, stinging—attacking. Lies and double-speak are nothing new, and lying lips still cause devastation. He has an alarming solution: “…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?’”
James picks up this same theme in his letter:
“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” James 1:26 (ESV).
“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” James 3:5)
Lip service has been a plague since the beginning, and it still is. This Psalm is not about the comfort of God’s word, it is a rebuke because the glaring needs of the “poor who are plundered, and groan” (v 5), are not met by mere words. Prayer and praise complement a heart of service that moves us to meet needs around us. Without practical action, it is just flattery, which God hates. The Lord’s word is true and powerful because he has backed it up by sacrificing his only Son to save us.
A life of service, even in the face of the vile wickedness around us, will give meaning to our words. Then we can take comfort in God’s words. He will keep his word, and he will guard us. This treasure gives pure joy.