Psalm Saturday: Psalm 12

It's Saturday! Call your Mom!

It’s Saturday! Call your Mom!

Hello all! Here we are on another lovely Saturday morning. Today we explore Psalm 12, a ‘Plea for Help in Evil Times.” I love psalms like this one—so often I think we get in the habit of reading the Psalms as a part of the Bible, but these were the prayers of the Israelites, sung and brought before God in His temple. Right now, I think this is my prayer, too.

Psalm 12: A Plea for Help in Evil Times

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 for ever.
8 On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among humankind.
Help, Lord; for there is no longer any that is godly;
for the faithful have vanished from among the sons of men.
2 Every one utters lies to his neighbor;
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 tongue we will prevail,
our lips are with us; who is our master?”
5 “Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord;
“I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
6 The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure,
silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.
7 Do thou, O Lord, protect us,
guard us ever from this generation.
8 On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

Our first difference is in verse one, where the NRSV (left) uses “humankind” while the RSV (right) uses “sons of men.” While I like the RSV’s traditional phrasing, there’s no denying the “biblish.” “Humankind” is certainly easier to read and understand, and makes the meaning of verse one clearer. The RSV makes a comeback in verse two, where “every one” emphasizes that all the people are wicked and deceitful.

In verse four, the NRSV reads “our lips are our own,” while the RSV reads “our lips are with us.” The NRSV certainly makes more since and is, again, easier to understand, but I love the phrasing of the RSV. It reminds me of Psalm 141:3—”Set a guard over my mouth, O Lordkeep watch over the door of my lips.” If your lips aren’t with you, then who are they with? Do you entrust all your thoughts and words to God? It’s easy for us to ask Him to bless our endeavors, but how often do we fail to honor Him with our speech and thoughts?

Of course, we are all human. I can identify with this psalm right now—I have been struggling with anger due to conflicts and mistreatment at school, and I let it get the better of me. In times like that, we have to remember that “will guard us from this generation” and from harsh words—harboring anger will only lead to more sin.

Thankfully, God is good and just. He will carry out His promises. They are “are promises that are pure,” and trustworthy. For us, we may “be angry but [may] not sin [or] let the sun go down on your anger” (Eph. 4:26). I let the sun go down on mine, so I’ll be heading to Confession tomorrow, where God will make good on another promise—His amazing forgiveness. As we begin Holy Week, let’s take advantage of the Sacrament and thank God for His unfailing love.

God bless you all. Have a wonderful Holy Week and Easter Season!

In His Sacred Heart,

Erica

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