Whose Words Can We Trust?

Whose Words Can We Trust?

Do you ever feel alone in standing for what is right? Do you ever feel stranded as you stand for God amidst coworkers, family members, and even among friends? In Psalm 12, we find that David felt the same way. As David looked about him, he cried to God for help “for the godly man ceaseth” (v. 1). David felt alone. David felt as though the godly had disappeared. He lamented to God that “the faithful fail from among the children of men” (v. 1). David was surrounded by speech that was characterized by vanity (“idle chatter”) and flattery (“double speak”) (v. 2). David cringed as he heard the proud and boastful language around him (v. 4). David felt stranded in the midst of empty, flattering, and pride-filled speech. David felt as though he could trust no man’s words.

Job was a man that likely felt the same way. Job suffered through great trials and is found lamenting his great affliction in chapters 6-7. Job’s friends sat with him and, although sincere in their desire to help, only seemed to make Job’s afflictions more miserable. In Job 4-5, Eliphaz was the first of Job’s “friends” to respond to his suffering. In Job 6:2, Job answered Eliphaz and said, “Oh that my grief were thoroughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together”. In other words, Job responded by telling Eliphaz that his well-intentioned words had only made his suffering worse. Eliphaz made a wrong analysis of Job’s situation and spoke words that only hurt Job more. The words of Eliphaz were weak and flavorless like unsalted food or the tasteless white of an egg (v. 6). Eliphaz’s words did not bring strength or health to Job, rather, they were harsh and undeserved. Job told Eliphaz that his words lacked pity towards his suffering (v. 14) and were as unreliable as a snow-fed stream that disappears when it gets too warm outside (vv. 15-17). Job’s reaction climaxes in v. 21- “For now ye are nothing…” Job’s friends tried to offer help but were unreliable, unhelpful, and aggravating. Job felt as though he couldn’t trust the words of his friends.

Back in Psalm 12, David exposed the untrustworthiness of man’s words. However, David continued on and put into sharp contrast the words of man with the words of God. Yes, man’s words may be flattering, empty, proud, unreliable, unhelpful, and aggravating but God’s words are “pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (v. 6). Not only that, but God will “keep them” and will “preserve them from this generation for ever” (v. 7). God’s words are pure, proven, and preserved. They are dependable and everlasting. Though man’s words fail, God’s words can be trusted in every sense and in all generations.

As the hymnist Isaac Watts penned: “Thy word, like silver seven times tried, Through ages shall endure; The men that in thy truth confide, Shall find thy promise sure.”