Communal Laments: Psalm 12

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Read Psalm 12

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.

Go Deeper

Psalm 12 is a communal lament, where the psalmist (in this case David) is lamenting the brokenness in the world on behalf of a group or nation. Here David is experiencing what so many of us deal with still today—the feeling that the faithful are few, and grow fewer every day. Keep in mind, David was a fierce warrior and soldier, yet it was not the physical battlefield that sent him to his knees. It was the lies and deception in the hearts of those around him that broke David and caused him to lament that the “loyal have vanished from the human race.” If you have ever felt alone, felt the betrayal of another (as we all have at some point), then you can recognize and empathize with the sorrow that David is expressing. It is likely familiar.

Let’s pause and recognize how he expresses that sorrow. He doesn’t grow angry at the human race. He doesn’t doubt his God’s presence or power over it all, just because it seems like the entire human race has become vile. And it doesn’t say that David tries to do anything about it himself—even though it is very likely that he could have. He was one of the best and most honored soldiers working in the king’s court. At times, he had close contact with the leader of the land. Yet, David didn’t go to the king. He went to the King.

We often forget that God doesn’t need our help. When things hurt us, offend us, or violate what we think is right, we spring into action, especially if we have access or ability to fix the problem at hand. But David knew that despite his position, status, and proximity to power, the strongest weapon he had in his arsenal was prayer. It was only God who would arise and act on behalf of the poor and needy who were being victimized. It was only the power of God’s pure words, in contrast to the lies of the people around David, that would pass the test of time and was worthy of his trust. 

What a humbling thought that God, in all His glory and power, arises on our behalf and in our defense. As Spurgeon describes it, “Think of God arising in his might….Sighing child of God, it is you who can bring him into this marvelous state of activity.” When we lose faith or have a broken heart over the things surrounding us, we need only to remember that it is our acknowledged need that spurs God into action. We just have to ask—and watch Him arise.


  1. What circumstances have you feeling hopeless or broken-hearted?
  2. Have you tried to fix the problem yourself or have you taken it to God?
  3. What worries can you put down and ask God to handle for you today?

keep digging

Read this article from for more insight on why the wicked prosper.

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5 thoughts on “Communal Laments: Psalm 12”

  1. Help
    This is the first word of this Psalm. Just help. We/I often think I have to have an eloquant flowing beautiful prayer but just those 4 letters is ok with God. I have become my own god. I can fix it, do it all by myself, even when I do not know what the next few minutes hold. I need help. I need to quite my head, heart, and let HIM arise with my help.
    5 “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.” 6 And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.
    His words are flawless and purified. His words are truth and justice. He has, will, and is going to arise with my help as I relinquish my life to Him.

    God thank You that You are and do help minutely. Thank You for helping me to continue to see Your guidance, love, hand in the minutes of this day. God lead me continually to You, help me to see You in all I say, see and do that I can glorify You with my life in Jesus name amen

  2. Ella Snodgrass

    These 2 points from JP’s message on Sunday resonate with this Psalm:
    •We are to trust ourselves the least when we want something the most.
    •Allow the Spirit of God through the word of God to make known to us the things of God.
    This is especially imperative to remember as we, too, are living in a time when “the wicked freely strut about, when what is vile is honored by the human race”(v8). As America celebrates Independence Day, may we rise up as “one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

  3. 2 “Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts.”

    It is so easy to get sucked into lying (incl. “white lies”) because “everyone is doing it”. Lord, impress upon me the importance of truth-telling, truth-living.

    1. Happy Independence Day! Thank you God for the United States of America in which we are privileged to live, worship, and serve You!

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