Whom Can You Trust?
Save and help and rescue, Lord, for godly people cease to be,For the faithful vanish from among the sons of men. They speak deceitful and worthless words to one another;With flattering lips and a double heart they speak. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,The tongue that speaks great things [in boasting]; Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail;Our lips are our own; who is lord and master over us?” “Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy,Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” The words and promises of the Lord are pure words,Like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times. You, O Lord, will preserve and keep them;You will protect him from this [evil] generation forever. The wicked strut about [in pompous self-importance] on every side,As vileness is exalted and baseness is prized among the sons of men.”
Psalm 12: 1-8
I saw an experiment, captured on film, demonstrating how adversity may condition us into a state of hopelessness.
A pike was placed in a large tank. At feeding times minnows (the favorite food) we’re poured into the water. The pike energetically swam, gobbling up dinner.
Next, a clear glass cylinder was sit in the center of the tank and the minnows were placed within the oval. Unaware that an invisible wall separated him from his prey, the pike darted for the first minnow- only to slam into the glass. Stunned, he backed away and tried again. Same result.
For a number of hours this process continued. Finally in defeat, the pike settled to the bottom of the tank.
The glass cylinder was extracted, freeing the minnows. They swam right by the pike’s nose, but conditioning had convinced him the minnows were inaccessible. Eventually he died of starvation.
Sometimes life takes on the hopelessness of the pike in the tank. Psalm 12 finds David in such an environment. David is at the bottom of circumstances, stunned. Persons in whom he trusted, whose word he believed, had not told him the truth. He had been lied to, suckered by flattery. People had told him what they thought he wanted to hear rather than their true opinions.
The dark places in our lives are often surrounded by intense emotions. Psalm 12 reflects a time when David felt devastated and sank into depression. David has lost his trust in anyone. He expresses, “No one can be trusted. I am alone, surrounded by persons, who, given the opportunity will likewise take the advantage of me.” In Psalm 12 he cries out, “Help Lord, for the godly are no more, the faithful have vanished from among men. Everyone lies to his neighbor, their flattering lips speak with deception.”
David’s words express his feelings but like ours, they don’t always express truth. Another servant of God expressed some of the same feelings. Elijah, that great man of God who stood on a hill and called down fire from heaven; who was clothed so in the power of the Spirit that he outran a chariot, and who prayed that it wouldn’t rain and it didn’t for three years and then prayed again and it began to rain, wound up in a cave hiding in fear for his life. These are the words he expressed:
“There he came to a cave and spent the night in it; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very zealous (impassioned) for the Lord God of hosts (armies) [proclaiming what is rightfully and uniquely His]; for the sons of Israel have abandoned (broken) Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I, only I, am left; and they seek to take away my life.”
1 Kings 19:9-10
George Wood says, “Our prayers do not always express God’s truth. Sometimes they reflect our emotional state. Biblically it is not true that ‘the godly are no more,‘ nor is it accurate that ‘everyone lies to his neighbor.” But hurtful experiences can make us feel that way. If, like the pike, we are slammed by unwelcome, unanticipated surprises, we too may lie on the bottom and assume there’s no use trusting anyone again.”
The hurt that David is experiencing moves him to ask God to even the score. He has been so broken by the person who took pride in their smooth untruths that he lashes out. That’s usually the normal response. Hurt moves us to retaliate and when retaliation is beyond our power, we turn to a greater force. “I’ll tell my daddy and he’ll make you pay!” As David asks God to take vengeance, God refuses and simply says, “I will protect(verse 5).
Can we truly trust the Lord to protect us when we don’t know what or when He will act on our behalf? David’s faith and what can be ours is reflected in verse 6: “The words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.”
Psalm 12 closes with a paradox. Coupled with the assurance of the Lord’s protection is the awareness that nothing has changed in the behavior of the one who brought him harm. Verse 8 says, “the wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.”
Today you may be in a place where you wonder whom you can trust. Perhaps a relative, a close friend, a coworker, a neighbor has broken a trust. Maybe you have been misled by a trusted person, used by someone, been sold a lemon, gossiped about behind your back, had a promise made that never materialized. And you wonder who you can trust.
George Wood says, “Don’t be like the pike who gave up after a number of bruising encounters. Follow the example of David and begin to trust again by first placing your confidence in the Lord. Throughout the Bible, He affirms His live for and loyalty toward you. You can count on His words. He will protect and keep you.”
Dr. John Thompson