all posts

psalm xx – for you

The Israelites sang out for God to fulfill His promises to them through David. He was the chosen one, through whom God would make a great (if flawed) king. He did this in an odd way: without the use of cavalry.

Chariots and horses served what we would call conventional wisdom. If you want to win, then surely you pick the greatest weapon. God had done this with David before. Remember his battle against Goliath? Unarmoured, small and equipped only with a sling, David had already learned that the most effective weapon against his foe was the promise of God’s anointing for duty.

We are not David. We in fact have no promise of victory of our own to cling to like David did. Like the rest of the Israelites following him, we stand behind the true Anointed One and trust in what the Father has promised Him. And just like these Israelites, we share in the Anointed One, Christ’s, inheritance. His victory is our victory as we are caught up in His salvation. Isn’t it good that we cling to Christ and what He has done? Isn’t it good that the burden he carried to the cross for you was done away with? When we pray “O Lord, save the king! May he answer us when we call” our King is Christ! He is risen! 

The story is played out. Christ has won the battle and run the race in your place. We cling to His victory, not our own. We cling to His life, not our own. Do you see? You only see Christ as Saviour when you look outside of your own life to the objective work He has done in His death and resurrection for you. 

Wherever you are in life, Christ is the same now and forever. Victorious. Embracing. Forgiving.

for you

Rest not on your own works. Not on your own merits, your own level of repentance, your own level of trust, your own self-established expectations of where you should be right now.

The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent (jn 6:29). No chariots. No horses. Nothing in yourself. No human requirements. The work of Christ done outside of you. Look at Him. He is smiling at you.

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!

May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!

May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and give you support from Zion!

May he remember all your offerings
    and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah

May he grant you your heart’s desire

    and fulfill all your plans!

May we shout for joy over your salvation,

    and in the name of our God set up our banners!

May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;

    he will answer him from his holy heaven

    with the saving might of his right hand.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,

    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

They collapse and fall,

    but we rise and stand upright.

O Lord, save the king!

    May he answer us when we call.

psalm xx

<— psalm xix psalm xxi —>

psalm xix – the sky as devotional literature

What have the first six verses to do with the rest? It almost seems like two different Psalms with two different topics as David shifts from the heavens to God’s law. Well, the heavens declare the glory of God, where else could David’s mind drift but to God’s provision. 

Notice that God’s glory permeates the whole earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The sky voicelessly, in light or dark, proclaims the glory of God. Look outside. If it is day, you see by the all-encroaching sun’s rays. Each celestial movement, or rather, each photon’s movement is dictated by the one God of Creation. The very physical world is revelatory of God. Not just those things that entice our eyes, like sunsets and waterfalls, but every nook and cranny of a tree’s bark or stone’s shape. Everything that the heat of the sun touches.

The darkness quietly reveals something else. As your eyes try to adjust to pitch blackness, searching for any speck of light, where else can your mind be brought but to the fact that you are a creature. Your seeking eyes find no purchase, as God has given you this time to sleep. This night remains a part of our universe for your sake, and God proclaims to you in it “rest, I have set aside this time for you, so you might lie for hours in the way I have designed. God has no use for night or day. He is eternal, beyond time. Both states, day and night, testify to our being the subjects of a loving, glorious God.

And, realising this, David looks from the created order to something even clearer: God’s revelation in Scripture. And it is truly clearer. Many look to the sky and see some sort of creator behind it, but we know no nameless creator. The Creator does not come to us most meaningfully in the wordless words of the natural order, but through the God-breathed (2 tim 3:16) words of Scripture. The invisible operation of the Spirit through these Words is our greatest gift, and it was only natural that David’s mind tracked from the natural world to his gracious God.

Go ahead and emulate David in the way he uses the day and night as readily-accessible, physical ‘devotional literature’, things that bring his mind to God. Then let that take you to His Word to receive the word of Christ, the purest revelation of God.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
    which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them,
    and there is nothing hidden from its heat.


The law of the Lord is perfect,

    reviving the soul;

the testimony of the Lord is sure,

    making wise the simple;

the precepts of the Lord are right,

    rejoicing the heart;

the commandment of the Lord is pure,

    enlightening the eyes;

the fear of the Lord is clean,

    enduring forever;

the rules of the Lord are true,

    and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,

    even much fine gold;

sweeter also than honey

    and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover, by them is your servant warned;

    in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can discern his errors?

    Declare me innocent from hidden faults.

Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;

    let them not have dominion over me!

Then I shall be blameless,

    and innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

    be acceptable in your sight,

    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

psalm xix

<— psalm xviii (b) psalm xx —>

psalm xviii (b) – equipped to be conduits

A mistake we often make is thinking that God equips us in the way our employer equips us. An employer, depending on your role, might provide you a computer or a shovel or an office or a microscope or a gun. With this equipment you are expected to then use it to satisfy your employer’s many demands. How well you use these pieces of equipment will help determine your job security, promotion prospects and relationship with your employer. God manages to equip us while He’s doing all the work. How?

We see it play out in this Psalm. God equips and trains David. Then David goes to work, defeating his enemies. Destroying them. Yet he attributes the victory to God. It was God who subdued the people, while David “ground them to dust.” What honest employee attributes the entirety of their work to the boss (unless they’re trying to suck up)? No one. If not for personal pride, then out of honesty. It wouldn’t or couldn’t be true. It is not possible for two humans to share the intertwined action of God and David that we see in this passage.

So, God’s ‘equipping’ is different somehow. An action can have two ‘actors’, one divine and one human. Somehow. So much so that David can pierce the heart of an enemy with his sword, feel the weight of the steel in his own hands and smell the metallic aroma of blood through his own nostrils. His first hand, visceral experience is turned over as God’s own work. This isn’t just reverence, like saying “I couldn’t have done it if not for God’s help.” It’s realer than that. The actors aren’t differentiated.

This is the mystery of God’s work in the world. All goodness flows from God. The flowers seem to grow by the light of the sun and the water in the soil, but they actually grow by God’s own personal good will and attention to detail through these physical means. Nothing good happens on its own, but only by God’s providential care. When a creature does wrong, she sees herself as her own actor and distorts her good purpose. This is all evil is. Self-will. 

But when a creature acts in accordance with her good purpose defined by Her Creator, as David did here, she becomes a transparent conduit of God’s will. This is what Jesus was, God enfleshed, the man in complete congruence with the Father’s will. He was equipped by God, and did only as the Father desired (jn 8:29). Now, we are not Christ, but we do image Him.

And we are equipped by God in such a way that He has chosen to work through our actions in this profoundly unintelligible way. Two actors, one action. The Source of good and its human conduit. David knew this truth deeply, as you can see from his writing. You are not equipped to do anything, but to be a conduit for God’s goodness. Yet this isn’t passivity and sitting around, but constant work. Just know the work is not yours, nor is the equipment.

This might take some thinking. If you take two things away from this, take this.

  1. God desires you to do His will as revealed and illuminated by the Holy Spirit in Scripture.
  2. Any of God’s will you do was simply His goodness made manifest through you as a physical instrument. You produced none of it and deserve no credit for it, for it was Christ in you (gal 2:20).

With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
For you save a humble people,
    but the haughty eyes you bring down.
For it is you who light my lamp;
    the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
For by you I can run against a troop,
    and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect
    the word of the Lord proves true;
    he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

For who is God, but the Lord?
    And who is a rock, except our God?—
the God who equipped me with strength
    and made my way blameless.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
    and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war,
    so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have given me the shield of your salvation,
    and your right hand supported me,
    and your gentleness made me great.
You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
    and my feet did not slip.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
    and did not turn back till they were consumed.
I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise;
    they fell under my feet.
For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
    you made those who rise against me sink under me.
You made my enemies turn their backs to me,
    and those who hated me I destroyed.
They cried for help, but there was none to save;
    they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
I beat them fine as dust before the wind;
    I cast them out like the mire of the streets.

You delivered me from strife with the people;
    you made me the head of the nations;
    people whom I had not known served me.
As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me;
    foreigners came cringing to me.
Foreigners lost heart
    and came trembling out of their fortresses.

The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
    and exalted be the God of my salvation—
the God who gave me vengeance
    and subdued peoples under me,
who rescued me from my enemies;
    yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me;
    you delivered me from the man of violence.

For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations,
    and sing to your name.
Great salvation he brings to his king,
    and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
    to David and his offspring forever.

psalm xviii:25-50

<— psalm xviii (a) psalm xix —>

psalm xviii (a) – violent God

How comfortable are you with God’s anger? Likely, not very. Psalms like these are more relatable in times of serious civil unrest, like in the time of David. If our country were being bombed and attacked, under constant threat by enemy powers, we would be more comfortable with God’s anger. In our current situation, God’s anger can seem…superfluous. Immature. Barbaric. Unnecessary. Well, I invite you to join me in worshiping our violent God.

Because the powers God wages war on are violent. The devil sends his tendrils out towards all hearts, hoping to draw them in with sweet seduction to the place of death. Like a siren, he sings sweet melodies that bring men and women to shipwreck themselves and lose themselves. The form that takes is different in 21st century Australia, but it is the same actor at work. It is a secret, cunning violence, yet a violence all the same.

And our God, like a great fire-breathing dragon descended on Satan at the resurrection. Our slavers looked up to see His fury against them, pouring out molten wrath upon them. A consuming fire that filled every cunning hiding place, leaving Satan in desolation, defeated. Plucked with love from the scorched earth is Christ and His Church, leaving Satan and his kin to waste away in a barren wasteland. The forces of evil that so seek our damnation crushed and burned in the fire of God’s wrath.

This is our God, who destroys the destroyer. Who does violence to the author of evil. We do not yet know the weight of sin, when God’s violent hatred for it is not understood. We do not know just how long and vile the devil’s tendrils are, how pure and lovely God’s creation would be without them.

When we abhor God’s anger against sin, we embrace the siren’s song that leads us to the God of our imagination, Satan. The song that calls us to take a measured, reasonable, nuanced, modern Western perspective of sin. To sin is to invite the desolation of God, as this Psalm shows us.

Love the true God, who has saved you by the grace of Christ from His all-consuming fire.

I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock,
my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock where I seek refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold.
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I was saved from my enemies.

The ropes of death were wrapped around
the torrents of destruction terrified me.
The ropes of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.
I called to the Lord in my distress,
and I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.

Then the earth shook and quaked;
the foundations of the mountains trembled;
they shook because he burned with anger.
Smoke rose from his nostrils,
and consuming fire came from his mouth;
coals were set ablaze by it.
He bent the heavens and came down,
total darkness beneath his feet.
He rode on a cherub and flew,
soaring on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his hiding place,
dark storm clouds his canopy around him.
From the radiance of his presence,
his clouds swept onward with hail and blazing coals.
The Lord thundered from heaven;
the Most High made his voice heard.
He shot his arrows and scattered them;
he hurled lightning bolts and routed them.
The depths of the sea became visible,
the foundations of the world were exposed,
at your rebuke, Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.

He reached down from on high
and took hold of me;
he pulled me out of deep water.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out to a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

The Lord rewarded me
according to my righteousness;
he repaid me
according to the cleanness of my hands.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord
and have not turned from my God to wickedness.
Indeed, I let all his ordinances guide me
and have not disregarded his statutes.
I was blameless toward him
and kept myself from my iniquity.
So the Lord repaid me
according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

psalm xviii:1-24 (csb)

<— psalm xvii psalm xviii (b) —>

psalm xvii – just and sinner

  • In black is a portion of our Psalm, which Christ could pray earnestly on His own merit. It is also what we can pray joyfully by our union with Him.
  • In red is my addition, that helps us read this Psalm in light of this Gospel.

Lord, hear a just cause;
from your child in Christ
Pay attention to my cry;
and I know you will
listen to my prayer
for I pray to you as Your Son prays to you
Let my vindication come from you,
for no one but your Son makes me innocent
for You see what is right
that is, you see Christ and not my sin

You have tested my heart
and I have been found lacking
You have examined me at night
when I think I am free to get away with evil
You have tried me and found nothing evil;
as I am pure in your sight by grace through faith in Christ

I have determined that my mouth will not sin concerning what people do
and yet it does often
by the words from your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent
and yet never as pure as your Son has

My steps are on your paths
by the grace of Christ
my feet have not slipped
not by my power, for I stand on the rock of Christ

We pray the Psalms of David as sinners.
We pray the Psalms of David as members of Christ. We pray as simul iustus et peccator, “simultaneously just and sinner.”
We pray as both righteous and sinner, knowing our righteousness flows from Christ while our sin still bubbles up in defiance against our inevitable transformation into the image of Christ (rom 8:29).

Lord, hear a just cause;
pay attention to my cry;
listen to my prayer—
from lips free of deceit.
Let my vindication come from you,
for you see what is right.
You have tested my heart;
you have examined me at night.
You have tried me and found nothing evil;
I have determined that my mouth will not sin
Concerning what people do:
by the words from your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps are on your paths;
my feet have not slipped.

I call on you, God,
because you will answer me;
listen closely to me; hear what I say.
Display the wonders of your faithful love,
Savior of all who seek refuge
from those who rebel against your right hand.
Protect me as the pupil of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
from the wicked who treat me violently,
my deadly enemies who surround me.

They are uncaring;
their mouths speak arrogantly.
They advance against me; now they surround me.
They are determined
to throw me to the ground.
They are like a lion eager to tear,
like a young lion lurking in ambush.

Rise up, Lord!
Confront him; bring him down.
With your sword, save me from the wicked.
With your hand, Lord, save me from men,
from men of the world
whose portion is in this life:
You fill their bellies with what you have in store;
their sons are satisfied,
and they leave their surplus to their children.

But I will see your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with your presence.

psalm xvii (csb)

<— psalm xvi psalm xviii (a) —>

psalm xvi – unshakeable

What does it mean to not be shaken? We can look to Christ on the cross to see. He was indeed physically shaken as he was whipped, beaten and pierced. His whole body shook and recoiled from the pain, so in no sense was he unshakeable in his physical body. Those who find God only in His gracious healing should take note of this. If ‘being like Jesus’ is the aim, then surely enduring pain and hardship is par for the course rather than a sign of God’s absence.

In fact, Jesus was unshakeable in a different way. He was so enamored by His love for God and us that He could endure whatever struck His physical body. At any point he could free Himself of the pain of the cross, as would be His right as God yet He remained sturdy in His resolve. His outward man could be shaken by wounds and abuse, but His inward man was unshakeable. The will of the Father was all His inward man desired to fulfill, despite the protests of His outward man.

To be guided by the Lord is to be like Christ on the cross, who saw the goodness of God’s will more desirous than to be free of the pain of life. It is to suffer the slings and arrows of fortune in the outward man and retreat into the solace of the inward man. Christ did this as perfectly as a human could, and we aspire to be like Him in this way as well as in any other.

This does not mean to be unemotional or unfeeling. Christ wasn’t, as he called out from the cross for the forgiveness of His executioners (luk 23:34). It means simply to desire solace only in God and in no created thing. It is to be counseled so much by His Word that He drowns out the counsel of both the devil and your sinful heart. It is to draw on the perfect will of the Father that Jesus drew from on the cross.

Meditation: How sinful is your heart, that you worry and believe your own counsel? That God will cast you aside and leave you alone surrounded by wolves? Acknowledge your anxieties and fears, as well as your hopes and aspirations. Bring them to God, all of them, and see them for what they are. They are things that threaten to shake you, if you give them your heart. They are a poor foundation, if they are required for you to be content and pleased with God. They are lesser things, because they are a product of your own weakness or desire. They are your will. Embrace the greater thing, God’s counsel, which you find in His Word. His will. Each time you do that, by the operation of God’s Holy Spirit, you will be trained more and more to be unshakeable in the same way as Christ.

Protect me, God, for I take refuge in you.
I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have nothing good besides you.”

As for the holy people who are in the land,
they are the noble ones.
All my delight is in them.
The sorrows of those who take another god
for themselves will multiply;
I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
and I will not speak their names with my lips.

Lord, you are my portion
and my cup of blessing;
you hold my future.
The boundary lines have fallen for me
in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I will bless the Lord who counsels me—
even at night when my thoughts trouble me.
I always let the Lord guide me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad
and my whole being rejoices;
my body also rests securely.
For you will not abandon me to Sheol;
you will not allow your faithful one to see decay.
You reveal the path of life to me;
in your presence is abundant joy;
at your right hand are eternal pleasures.

psalm xvi (csb)

<— psalm xv psalm xvii —>

psalm xv – none but Christ belongs

Lord, who can dwell in your tent?
None but Christ.
Who lives blamelessly?
None but Christ.
Who does not lie?
None but Christ.
Who does not harm?
None but Christ.

Who keeps God’s word whatever the cost, unbribable and unshakeable?
None but Christ.

Well, and you. Eventually. You will mirror Him and perfectly reflect His goodness. That is your future guaranteed by your brother Christ, from whom perfection flows into you, sanctifying the fallen humanity in you, restoring the Image of Christ in you. Yet not just a future, but also your present.

You. Weak, failing person. You currently dwell in the Lord’s tent by faith in Christ. You are fully in. Your relationship with God right now is a shared sonship with Christ. You are a participant in the life of the Trinity, though not God. A son like the Son.

Meditation: You are in the tent in Christ. You belong there yet you don’t. It does not yet feel like home to be with God. It feels as if you are a visitor in the tent, because this tent is designed for those far better than you. Your life as a Christian is learning to be at home in the tent despite the fact that you don’t seem to belong. Whether you belong is God’s decision, not yours. And He has said you do. Confess to God the worries of the day and reflect on them in light of this truth. You belong in the tent because Christ is righteous. You belong with God in spite of everything about you. None but Christ deserves to dwell with God. None but those in Christ do. And those who do dwell there in Christ, dwell there fully as residents and not visitors. 

Lord, who can dwell in your tent?
Who can live on your holy mountain?

The one who lives blamelessly, practices righteousness,
and acknowledges the truth in his heart—
who does not slander with his tongue,
who does not harm his friend
or discredit his neighbor,
who despises the one rejected by the Lord
but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his word whatever the cost,
who does not lend his silver at interest
or take a bribe against the innocent—
the one who does these things will
never be shaken.

psalm xv (csb)

<— psalm xiv psalm xvi —>

psalm xiv – the bulb and the sun

Perhaps the least believable thing in the Bible is what this Psalm says: there is no one who does good. This runs contrary to all our experience as we live among others whose actions we judge daily as good or bad, right or wrong. Even in moral grey areas, there is still white among the black. Good is mixed in to all people. This is quite true. There is a kind of earthly good, a dim showing of the Divine Light of God’s image that remains in fallen mankind. Yet it would be foolish to see the dimness as the light. 

When humans sit in low-lit room with a dim bulb, God does something with their eyes. Their pupils adapt and begin to adjust to what little light there is and take hold of it. That dimness offers far more sight than complete darkness ever could, and that dim light becomes the guide. Yet then the window is opened to allow the sunlight to pour in and envelop the observer. The dim light is no longer perceptible in the brightness of the day, as the Sun outmatches it immeasurably. If someone asked, “Why is the room so bright?” you would not answer, “because of this dim bulb!” It is forgotten in the sun.

The dim light is what we see in ourselves and our neighbours. The sun is Christ. When we see Christ as He is (1 Jn 3:2), the dim light obscured by our human failings will be imperceptible and we will see that the only pure and true Good is God’s. Exposure to God’s Word over time is to have the window to True Light creaked open, to be fully opened at the End.

Those who are in Christ often find themselves in the presence of the Light yet paradoxically still look to the dim bulb for wisdom. God is patient with us, and guides us towards the window by His Spirit in His Word. You are adopted in Christ, be led to the window by Him all your life.

The fool says in his heart, “There’s no God.”
They are corrupt; they do vile deeds.
There is no one who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the human race
to see if there is one who is wise,
one who seeks God.
All have turned away;
all alike have become corrupt.
There is no one who does good,
not even one.

Will evildoers never understand?
They consume my people as they consume bread;
they do not call on the Lord.

Then they will be filled with dread,
for God is with those who are righteous.
You sinners frustrate the plans of the oppressed,
but the Lord is his refuge.

Oh, that Israel’s deliverance would come from Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

psalm xiv (csb)

<— psalm xiii psalm xv —>

psalm xiii – emotional sincerity

For whatever reason, it can be hard to be sincere with God. If you are angry with Him or feel He is letting you down, the temptation is to squash those feelings down. They’re evil thoughts, after all. What right do you have to demand anything? I can understand that.

Yet that is not David’s way. He takes his emotions to God, raw and unfiltered as they are. He feels forgotten, expended, anxious and trapped. He is sincere with God. He does not try to manage those emotions before he prays. He recognises that God is the source of all healing, even the healing of the disappointment he feels towards God Himself.

This emotional sincerity is deceptively difficult, even in private prayer. Often we can be afraid to feel unsatisfied, as if we’re accusing God of wrongdoing, and shove it down by force of will. We pray for what we’re supposed to if we were a good Christian. Yet God is the healer of that unsatisfaction, not you, and it’s Him you need to take it to. Don’t be afraid to pray badly boldly, because God is your forgiving Father and not a harsh teacher grading you on your prayer.

And note that this does something. It frees you to trust. When you lock up your emotion away from God, you deny that He is trustworthy enough to handle it. When you give Him all, you have nothing left to hide, and can recognise His ability and your inability so much clearer.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long will I store up anxious concerns within me,
agony in my mind every day?
How long will my enemy dominate me?

Consider me and answer, Lord my God.
Restore brightness to my eyes;
otherwise, I will sleep in death.
My enemy will say, “I have triumphed over him,”
and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your faithful love;
my heart will rejoice in your deliverance.
I will sing to the Lord
because he has treated me generously.

psalm xiii (csb)

<— psalm xii psalm xiv —>

psalm xii – the jeweler

Refining is the process of removing impurities so only the desired substance is left. All manner of foreign particles can limit the effectiveness of a material. In the case of silver, heat was the refining instrument, as it burned away all except the valuable metal.

God’s words are like this, completely pure of all imperfection. All other words are not like this, and in them reside more or less impurities. All words can then be divided into two categories: pure (God’s) and impure (ours). This isn’t to say all we say is wrong, just incomplete. At best it is purified a couple of times in a furnace, but never seven. No one speaks from God’s all-encompassing, all-wise perspective.

Where does that leave us? In a state of unknowing except by God’s Word. Everything is transitory and incomplete except God’s Word, which is complete. God’s Word is the only way by which we know reality without impurity.

If a jeweler frequently deals with pure silver, then he can quickly spot a less-pure product when it is brought in to his shop. However, if his exposure to pure silver is infrequent and minimal, less-pure items will evade his detection. It’s only later when he sees pure silver again that he realises he’s been duped again. Frequent exposure to the pure is the jeweler’s wisest option to avoid monetary loss, and our wisest option to avoid spiritual loss. 

Help, Lord, for no faithful one remains;
the loyal have disappeared from the human race.
They lie to one another;
they speak with flattering lips and deceptive hearts.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips
and the tongue that speaks boastfully.
They say, “Through our tongues we have power;
our lips are our own—who can be our master?”

“Because of the devastation of the needy
and the groaning of the poor,
I will now rise up,” says the Lord.
“I will provide safety for the one who longs for it.”

The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in an earthen furnace,
purified seven times.
You, Lord, will guard us;
you will protect us from this generation forever.

The wicked prowl all around,
and what is worthless is exalted by the
human race.

psalm xii (csb)

<— psalm xi psalm xiii —>