Psalm 12: The Most Powerful Weapon in Human History
For the director of music. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.
Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbor;
they flatter with their lips
but harbor deception in their hearts.
May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue— those who say, “By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”
“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.” And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.
You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked, who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race.
What is the most powerful weapon in human history? A quick Google search says that the most powerful weapon in human history is something called the "Tsar Bomba." The Soviet RDS-202 as it is technically referred to was created in the 20th century during the Cold War. The bomb was tested in the early 60's and only continued to escalate the arms race between the USA and the USSR. By all accounts, this weapon could create more destruction than anything else created by humans in all of history.
But I actually can think of a more destructive weapon. The most powerful weapon in human history, in my opinion, is something we all own.
What? The tongue? The thing that's in my mouth?
Yep that thing.
With our tongue, we say words. Words are the most powerful thing we have. With our words we can build up and we can tear down. The Cold War was started not by military action, but the trading of words, ideas, and threats. That's what led to the creation of something like the Tsar Bomba.
In the book of James in the New Testament, James writes:
"Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body." Our words have the power to tear down and to build up. Too often we choose to tear down others.
In Psalm 12, David discusses how no one is faithful anymore, instead they lie, flatter themselves, and even talk about how amazing they are. He's saying that we all try to flatter people with our words but behind the scenes in our hearts we hate others. We're just trying to deceive others. That's the power of the tongue. We can use it to lie, to deceive, to tear down, etc. Have you ever met someone who thinks they can talk themselves out of any and every situation? Maybe they do terrible things behind their friends' backs but to their face are able to please them enough to get on their good side. Maybe that person is you. Our words are powerful and can be weapons if we don't keep them in check. This attitude is honored in our society, but it's not honored by God. And the people who are most affected by this attitude are those who are already in need and already hurting. We are only continuing the harm.
David contrasts our evil and deceitful words with the words of God. He says that the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.
God's words are backed up by His actions. He delivers the needy. He protects the hurting. He isn't saying one thing only to do another. If God feels a certain way, He will ACT.
Our words can cause destruction. Our lies can cause destruction. It may seem sometimes that our words have minimal impact, but in reality, we aren't loving our neighbor well if we aren't building them up in love.
Challenge: When have your words hurt someone? When has your tongue caused destruction to someone, whether they knew it or not? Ask for repentance for those situations. Then try to reach out to them or some others in your life and use your tongue for good. Build them up and encourage them. Not because you're trying get on their good side, but because you see what God is doing in them.