After the furor in Ottawa about the terrorist plot uncovered the other week, personal and civil security are much in the news these days. (This post was written in Carta del norte on 27 August 2008 in the context of emergency and security planning for overseas missionaries.)
This morning I finished my analysis of Psalm 12, which is a consideration of words—the deceitful words of treacherous, wicked men as opposed to the pure, trustworthy words of Jehovah. The poet laments the dearth of faithful men in the world and then describes the way evil men flatter and deceive with their lips in order to oppress and exploit the poor and also to express their disdain for God and their perceived superiority over all men and even Him. The psalm is an apt commentary on culture—David’s and ours—but does have a reassuring passage in the middle. The opening and closing verses are negative—condemnations of society and its rampant evil and duplicity. But stuck in the center of the poem are these words:
“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.” (Psa 12.5-7)
This part of the psalm is like a juicy slab of filet mignon sandwiched between two stale, moldy slices of bread. What a great reassurance it is to know that God will vindicate His own and provide for us even in the midst of the kind of world in which missionaries have to think through security issues!