11–17 January, 2015.

Psalm 12 (Click to read).

So often in Taiwan we see so-called “successful people” who have gained their positions and wealth not through honesty and hard work but through flattery, lies, and cheating. Every week there seems to be another news report about corruption among our politicians, business leaders, and even church leaders. We read reports about how people have used lies and flattery to influence others, used their positions to push through secret deals, used their authority to oppress and cheat others.

What makes me particularly sad is when I see so many Taiwanese then begin to admire this corruption. People think: Well if it worked for others, if they forced their way through, pushed others down, used lies to get ahead, then that must be the best thing to do! We give up on morality and justice and think that whatever gets us what we want is good and right.

This is the situation that the writer of Psalm 12 faces. No one is honest or faithful anymore; they are all flatterers and liars and boasters – and with good reason! They have found that a lying mouth and a corrupt heart lead to success. They can use lies and corruption to rob the poor and needy (v. 5). And they have become so good at lying that they have even given up on God. So in v. 4 it is not God who protects and defends them, but their own evil tongues. After all, why hold to God when their own expertise at lying and deceiving can get them whatever they want?

But the psalmist rejects this way, and encourages us to reject it too. When God sees the poor plundered and the needy groaning (v.5) he won’t just sit back and do nothing. God will rise and come to their defence. And that is a true warning and a true word that we can depend on. God’s words are stable and trustworthy, and a life built on God’s words is also stable and trustworthy. Even though others may seem to do well, building our lives on trust in God will always be better than building it on lies and corruption.

Pastor Stephen Lakkis