Sweden’s Dag Hammarskjold, who traveled the world as Secretary -General of the United Nations always took these three items with him as he traveled. A copy of the New Testament, a copy of the Psalms and a copy of The United Nations Charter. Psalms presents to us God’s claim upon the whole world and speaks to God’s will that there be justice, righteousness and peace for all peoples and nations. In the twentieth century the predominate approach to Psalms has been historical but we are reminded by the writings of J Clinton McCann JR. that there is also a theological side to the Psalms. It is not my intent at this time to delve into a study of Psalms but some background information is always good. Sometime in future blogs I will return to this rich source of God’s will for his people.
My concern this day is the evil that hides no more but instead challenges the good of this life and leads to the loss of hope in better days to come. It is the evil of the hate of a few toward the good of many. Jesus turned the world upside down while the evil of this day turns it inside out. In considering the theology of Psalms we must start with the very first verse, of the very first Psalm, whose very first word of consideration of these powerful writings, a word that sets the standard definition of human happiness as one of being thoroughly God centered, Happy…
Psalm 1: 1-2
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;
2 but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
Best translated people’s happiness comes from their complete orientation of living their lives for God and are always open to God’s instruction.
Psalm 12 speaks to us across all this time as the very foundations of our nation are under attack and the prevalence of wickedness is at the forefront of the behavior of many. There is the plea for help amid this human corruption, the deceptive speech, and actions that hurt the poor and the needy. There is a lack of good people who are now being marginalized by the lies and false claims of others, claiming to care, while all the while their evil continues to destroy all that is around them. It is a plea for God to deal with the evil that surrounds us and those who would exalt such vile behavior. But as we read this Psalm verse five leaps off the page…There is the assurance that God has heard the plea of his people and he will lift up and protect his people.
(NRSV)Psalm 12 Plea for Help in Evil Times
1 Help, O Lord, for there is no longer anyone who is godly;
the faithful have disappeared from humankind.
2 They utter lies to each other;
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
the tongue that makes great boasts,
4 those who say, “With our tongues we will prevail;
our lips are our own—who is our master?”
5 “Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan,
I will now rise up,” says the Lord;
“I will place them in the safety for which they long.”
6 The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure,
silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.
7 You, O Lord, will protect us;
you will guard us from this generation forever.
8 On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among humankind.
Life is Good
Sources : New Interpreter’s Bible Volume IV