In 2002, a researcher from the University of Massachusetts studied how often people tell a lie during daily conversations. He found that 60 percent of adults were not able to get through a ten-minute conversation without lying at least once. Most people lied three times. We are surrounded by lies, not just from our neighbors and colleagues, but from advertisers, politicians, and often social media.
In Psalm 12, David lamented that “everyone lies to their neighbor” (v. 2). He knew that outright lies were not the only problem. He talked about flattery, boasting, and manipulation (vv. 2–3). The reason people are deceptive with their speech is because it can help achieve desired results. When Satan wanted to entice Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit in the garden, he did it through deceptive speech. David’s adversaries in this psalm boast, “By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?” (v. 4).
When powerful people practice deception, it is often the poor and vulnerable who suffer. In this psalm, God answers David’s lament. “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise” (v. 5). The deceptive speech of the enemy is countered by God’s word. Not only did God answer David’s prayer in this particular situation, but we also know that in the end justice will be achieved for all. Liars will not win at the end. Our hope is in the promise of Christ’s return to judge the living and the dead. We can rest in this certain hope because it is promised in God’s Word. His Word is not like the empty words of deceivers, but “like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times” (v. 6).
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