Reading: Psalm 12
Everyone utters lies [emptiness] to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak… The words of the Lord are pure words…You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.
In the age of communication, it’s often hard to know what to believe. And it can be difficult to know who to trust. And the chorus of voices has only been amplified through social media. Some say this is a good thing, overall, that the voices of the people are heard and that telling your story publicly is a vital component of a healthy democratic society. All the same, outright lies and half-truths abound, pandering happens all the time, and double-talkers have become “double-hearted” victims of their own speech, “with no truth to unite his character” (Derek Kidner, Commentary on the Psalms).
But the problem runs deeper, still. Some even call this the era of post-truth. It’s not merely that people tell lies or fabricate accounts to reinforce their worldviews and their positions—that’s always happened. But the idea that truth itself doesn’t exist, that there is no truth to be dealt with—that’s new. When argued eloquently, this position can feel quite persuasive, and one can be left feeling hopeless to ever know “what’s really going on.”
Yet, as followers of Christ, though we can be tempted to lose confidence in our ability to know the truth, we can be affirmed that the deepest truths can in fact be known to us. That confidence is not rooted in our own discernment, but instead humbly seeks God’s word. And as David says, “The words of the Lord are pure words.” More than that, those who belong to Jesus have the Spirit who helps us to understand them. Without God’s word and without his Spirit, we are like the rest of mankind, “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). What a frightening place to be.
But because God will keep his word, we can have confidence that his words will prove true—even if we don’t live to see it accomplished. And yet, the more in touch with the truth of God’s word we become, the more likely we are to see the Lord act on his word in our time. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Of course, it is only profitable to you if you read it, if you hear it preached, if you meditate on it, and if you obey it.
Brothers and sisters, our generations must boldly speak as witnesses to the truth, “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). But we cannot do that unless we ourselves know the truth of God’s word. And we will have little credibility as we speak that truth unless, by God’s Spirit, we obey that word of truth. Through his word, “He will guard us from this generation forever.”
Our Lord, it is so hard to know what to believe. Yet, we know that your word is truth. Make your people seek refuge in your word. Grant us a hunger for the Scriptures like we’ve never had before. Grant us joy in knowing you through your word. And grant us to arrive at a knowledge of the truth through our learning. Draw us nearer to you, and open our eyes to see. Open our mouths to speak. Ground us in the foundation of you Word—Jesus Christ, himself.