Pure Words

The words of the Lord are pure words,
    like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
    purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6).

Psalm 12 (ESV, copied from Biblegateway.com)

Save, O Lord, for (A)the godly one is gone;
    for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
Everyone (B)utters lies to his neighbor;
    with (C)flattering lips and (D)a double heart they speak.

May the Lord cut off all (E)flattering lips,
    the tongue that makes (F)great boasts,
those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
    our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

“Because (G)the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
    (H)I will now arise,” says the Lord;
    “I will place him in the (I)safety for which he longs.”
(J)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[b] from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl,
    as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

The Lord arises. He sends His Word. He seeks the poor, the plundered, and the needy. And then, He keeps both His Word and His people. He guards us forever. Thanks be to God!


Filed under As Christian Writers, Theological reflection

2 Responses to Pure Words

  1. Greetings, Mary—

    Thank you for your blog post today, which brought to mind something I wrote years ago for CPH’s Strength for the Day, in 2003. Here goes, slightly re-edited:

    The Word of God—Pure and Genuine

    With God, there is no “fake news” or empty words—the Word of God is genuine and pure—always.

    In human relationships, words can mislead and deceive. We know all too well how it feels to be hurt by empty promises . . . what it’s like to despair of someone and say, “he never does what he says,” or “she never keeps her word.”

    Such empty words and broken promises are like fake silver that may even shine attractively but is in fact a sham—words that seem true but are not. In such a world of sham, God’s Word is like sterling silver–it has the mark of purity on it.

    The psalmist describes this “sham world”–a tabloid-like domain of empty words and broken promises—a place that sounds remarkably like the world we live in today. “Everyone utters lies to his neighbor . . . ‘With our tongues we will prevail–who is master over us?’ . . . Vileness is exalted among the children of men.” (Psalm 12:2, 4, 8).

    God’s Word is qualitatively pure, genuine and true. Despite our growing information technology and greater quantity of words, if the words are false or vile or destroy human community instead of building it up, we have less and less truth! When words do not praise but curse God . . . when words tear down human relationships instead of building them up, then they have lost the very purpose God intends language to serve.

    We human beings still deny God in arrogance . . . we still lord it over one other . . . we still manipulate truth—so it’s all too easy for us to lose confidence and cry out with the psalmist, “the faithful have vanished from among the children of men.” (Psalm 12:1)

    In such a world of sham, the Word of God shines like pure silver: “I will now arise,” says the LORD. “I will place (the poor) in the safety for which he longs.” (Psalm 12:5)

    This is God’s own Word of life and resurrection–“I will arise!” For the purity of God’s Word, like sterling silver, is the Cross—not jewelry of metal, but the truth of Christ crucified, and believed in the heart. For on the Cross, God’s Word is proved true in action—like silver fired in a furnace, heated to the limit, “purified seven times.”

    Do we experience trials that burn like fire? For sure! Know that Jesus has been there for us, hanging on the Cross.

    Has your faith and hope ever been tested seven times—right to the limit? Know that Jesus has been there too, suspended between heaven and earth.

    Do the encouraging words of others even sound empty sometimes, because those others have not been where we are . . . have not experienced what we feel? Know that because Jesus has been where we are—even to death—that God’s pure promise will always stand the test of believing.

    Jesus is there for us, his promise stamped with the sign of the Cross and confirmed by the Word of the living God, “I will arise!” Like sterling silver, God’s Word proves pure, trustworthy and true.

    “The words of the LORD are pure words”–no sham or impurity of any kind. In response to that pure Word of the cross, we trust God and pray with confidence, “You, O LORD, will guard us forever!” (Psalm 12:7)
    All of which also puts me in mind of one of Luther’s earliest and (perhaps least known) hymns, “Ach Gott, vom Himmel, sieh darein,” St. 5:

    As silver tried by fire is pure / From all adulteration,
    So through God’s Word shall men endure / Each trial and tribulation.
    Its light beams brighter through the cross, And purified from human dross,
    It shines through every nation. (The Lutheran Hymnal # 260)

    David J. Susan

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