The Daily Office: Day 21- A Vile World and Salty Disciples
Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
1 Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. 2 Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts.
3 May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue— 4 those who say, "By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us—who is Lord over us?"
5 "Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise," says the Lord. "I will protect them from those who malign them." 6 And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold[c] refined seven times.
7 You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked, 8 who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race.
Psalm 12 is a prophetic Psalm of lament where the Psalmist looks at his society and realizes that things are shockingly bad. David begins the Psalm by pleading for the help only the Lord can give and ends the Psalm saying that vileness is honored in the world in which he lives. Only God can save us from such a depraved world, and I believe it is the world we now inhabit.
Three aspects of sinfulness are stressed by David: lack of covenantal faithfulness, duplicitous speech, and the oppression of the poor. All of these conditions are abundant in our world, making the Psalm completely prescient.
Marriage is the essential picture of covenantal faithfulness in a society. Over half of the marriages in our nation end in divorce, leaving a devastating societal wake. The Hebrew term for duplicitous speech refers to one who has "two hearts." In other words, we may long for virtue and, at times, advocate such a lifestyle in the things we say, but another, more prominent heart also speaks profane and treacherous words. Finally, David points to the oppression of the poor. The poor have become an easy target for a society that looks for a scapegoat to justify greed and excess. The impoverished are often the first to be blamed and the last to be helped in the wealthiest nation on earth.
David's explanation for this dire picture of his world is that the faithful, godly person no longer exists. This statement is reminiscent of what Jesus says to His disciples. "You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its saltiness, it is good for nothing." The godly are the ones who hold the society together, but when the world, with its arrogance, sinful talk, and vileness, change us, to the point that we lose our salinity, then the world spirals downward. Jesus' solution to the world's sinfulness is that His disciples become "saltier."
In what ways can you offer yourself to the Lord to make you a "saltier" disciple?
Lord, often, I look at this disintegrating world where vileness is honored, and I simply judge and blame the ungodly. Help me to see that the answer to our society's problems is to offer myself to you for transformation. Make me saltier, so that the light of Christ may shine. Amen.