Theme: More Words of the Wicked
In this week’s lessons we see that although great harm is done by evil people through their words, the word of the Lord remains a sure foundation and support for all those who put their trust in him.
Scripture: Psalm 12:1-8
Yesterday we concluded by saying how the language of abortion has been changed in an attempt to legitimize it. So a “baby” became a “fetus,” and then from there to “tissue.” And an “abortion” has now become a “surgical procedure,” or, worse, an exercise of the mother’s “right of free choice.”
But I saw a new debasement of language in this area not long ago. A pro-abortion group was holding a rally against Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey, a Democrat who opposes abortion and is likely to sign a new Pennsylvania law that restricts abortions after twenty-four weeks except to save the life of the mother, bans abortions for sex selection, establishes a twenty-four hour waiting period to deter precipitous action, and does a few other wise things. The signs for the rally read: “The Reproductive Rights Robber is Coming to town. Protest anti-choice Governor Casey.” I do not mind the protest itself. This is a free country in which the right of free speech is properly protected. I do not even mind a specific protest against Casey by those who oppose his position. But what I do mind is the language: “Reproductive Rights Robber”? Whatever are they thinking of? Abortion may be many things, but one thing it is not is the protection of reproductive rights. People have the right to reproduce. They have it even when they are not married, young and old. The issue in abortion is rather the right to kill the ones thus reproduced.
Say instead, “It is more important to protect the freedom or convenience of a female adult than the life of a baby,” if you will. That is wrong, but it is at least an honest description of what is happening. But do not say, “We want our reproductive rights,” when what is actually being called for is the right to kill babies.
And what of the word “robber”? That is deceptive also. The governor is accused of theft, when actually his concern is for the saving of life and by legal means. It is the abortionists who are robbers, for they are robbing the life of children yet unborn.
4. They boast. The fourth bad use of language described in Psalm 12 is boasting, an outward expression of the deadly sin of pride. David reports the boasts of those surrounding him by three claims: 1) “We will triumph with our tongues”; 2) “We own our lips”; and 3) “Who is our master?” The first claim justifies the means by the end: winning justifies deceit. The second claims autonomy: “We have the right to say anything we please.” The last boast means, “And if we lie when we speak, who is there who can call us to account?” It is a denial of any present or even ultimate accountability.
The French atheist Voltaire made these claims openly. He once said, “In twenty years Christianity will be no more. My single hand shall destroy the edifice it took twelve apostles to rear.” He wrote that in fifty years no one would remember Christianity. But in that very year, the British Museum paid $500,000 for a Bible manuscript from Russia while one of Voltaire’s books was selling in the London book stalls for just eight cents. As far as the future was concerned, fifty years after his boast the house in which Voltaire wrote his atheistic literature was the headquarters of the Geneva Bible Society and was being used to disseminate the Christian Scriptures.
The nurse who attended Voltaire in his last illness said, “For all the wealth in Europe I would not see another infidel die.” In addition, Trochim was his physician. He was with the great Voltaire when he died and reported that his last words were: “I am abandoned by God and man! I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months’ life. Then I shall go to hell; and you will go with me. O Christ! O Jesus Christ!”3
How misleading human words can be! The most famous words of Communism are the opening of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto: “Workers of the world, unite.” But in demonstrations in Moscow on the occasion of the seventy-second anniversary of Communism in that country, people carried signs which read, “Workers of the world, we’re sorry” and “72 years leading nowhere.”
How is the language used by the pro-abortion movement an example of the power of words by deception?
What are the examples of boasting observed in this psalm?
Application: James tells us that the tongue is not an easy thing to control and has great power (3:3-8). Pray for grace so that your speech would bring honor to the Lord and encourage other people.
3Herbert Lockyer, Last Words of Saints and Sinners (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1969), p. 133.