This brings us to the second half of Psalm 12. For having reviewed the destructive words of wicked persons, the psalmist turns to the words of God and acknowledges that they are quite different. In verse 5 he quotes God directly. It is the first oracle in the Psalms. Then he says that the words of God are "flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times" (v. 6). Silver refined seven times would be completely pure. There would be no dross in it.
Yesterday we concluded by saying how the language of abortion has been changed in an attempt to legitimize it. So a “baby” became a “fetus,” and then from there to “tissue.” And an “abortion” has now become a “surgical procedure,” or, worse, an exercise of the mother’s “right of free choice.” But I saw a new debasement of language in this area not long ago.
Psalm 12 is said to have been written by David, and there were surely many times in his life when David felt like this. But it is striking that the psalm contains nothing of a strictly personal note. There is no first person language, no "I," "me" or "my." The late Lutheran commentator Herbert Carl Leupold says, "This is one of the many instances when the psalms rise above the purely personal and local and look to the later needs of the church of God." In other words, we can identify easily with what it describes.
Psalm 12 is about human speech, as used by lying men and as employed by God in biblical revelation. It is about words' use and abuse. The principle involved is that the higher or finer a thing is, the more vulnerable it is to perversion. Love is the greatest quality in life. Yet love can be terribly abused. So also with words. In the lips of an Abraham Lincoln or a Winston Churchill words can inspire and challenge. They can lift a people to days of extraordinary greatness. But in the mouth of a Hitler, equally gifted in the use of speech, they can sweep the world into the destructive wars. Words are both our glory and our shame.
Yesterday we said that the first opening that God does is that of opening the Scriptures to us. It is only from the Bible that a true knowledge of God can be known. Secondly, having opened the Scriptures, He opened their eyes. You find that in verse 31. "Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him and He disappeared from their sight." At this point in the story, He was breaking the bread. I suppose it was a connection there. They had seen Him break the bread before. They perhaps remembered what had happened at the upper room. Certainly they had seen Him at other occasions, but notice that when their eyes are opened to see Him, what they think of and what they talk about is not the sacrament, not the breaking of the bread, but the Scriptures. In other words, it was through Jesus’ explaining of the Scriptures to them that they were enabled to see Him for who He is.
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