“When What is Vile is Honored”

As believers, we are inundated constantly with messages from a culture and society that are the complete opposite of our faith.

When actors, actresses, athletes, and politicians jump on the bandwagon about a certain issue—and then our friends and family do as well—holding fast to our faith and our beliefs can seem like a daunting feat and a lonely place.

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We learn in 1 John 3:13 that we should not be surprised when the world hates followers of Christ and the truth we hold in our hearts. And yet trending news stories, viral videos, television, and social media posts make the world and its agenda pretty hard to ignore.

Recently, I was reminded how precious God’s Word, the Bible, is to us as believers…especially as a compass to navigate all the messages we hear on any given day. I know that sounds like a no-brainer for a Christian…but as a busy, working wife and mom of three, I confess that there have certainly been times—heck, seasons!—when I have failed to carve out devotional time. Even when you’ve read the Bible cover-to-cover several times in your life, and attend church faithfully, and read blog posts and articles from mature Christians you admire, I have learned that there is no substitute for God’s living and active Word.

…there is no substitute for God’s living and active Word.

Yesterday I was reading through the Psalms, and when I came to Psalm 12:6-8, I couldn’t get past it. I read it over to myself three or four times. Here’s what it says:

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.

What does this mean?

First, verse six tells us that God’s Word is flawless and pure. Our words are often tainted by sin, agenda, impure motives, deceit, guile, or misinformation. Not so with the words of the Lord. His words are like precious, expensive metal that has been put through the extreme temperatures of fire in order to purify it. He is faithful and true (Psalm 33:4 and Revelation 19:11)!

Our words are often tainted by sin, agenda, impure motives, deceit, guile, or misinformation. Not so with the words of the Lord.

Second, verse seven attests to the faithfulness of God to protect the lowly from the wicked. For how long? For forever. As a person who has to keep fear in check with the Lord’s help, I find this verse very comforting. Even if people in the world, who “freely strut about” (I’m picturing a cocky rooster here), are against me for standing for God’s truth, my God will protect me always.

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Lastly—and this is the verse that really stunned me—there is security in the Lord even when “what is vile is honored by the human race.” WOW. This Psalm was written by King David over a thousand years ago. As I continually process the messages the world sends out about how we should look, act, think, speak, and what is right and acceptable, I’ve noticed that wrong messages are not usually overtly wrong. Wrong messages are often mixed together with points and justifications that sound good, noble, honorable, and kind. And yet Isaiah 5:20 says:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

How do we discern between the two?

We see in 2 Corinthians 2:11 that Satan is trying to “outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” Have you ever met someone who is a master at lying? Well, that person ain’t got nothing on the devil! He’s been lying from the beginning and he aims to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).

Ephesians 6:11 instructs us to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil…” Wiles literally means “deception through trickery.” The enemy is not going to present a straight-up lie to us. He is going to package it with a bow, coat it in sugar, and disguise it with goodness. But putting on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the Gospel of peace, the sword of the Spirit, and the shield of faith helps us to tell the difference between what is true and what is false.

The enemy is not going to present a straight-up lie to us. He is going to package it with a bow, coat it in sugar, and disguise it with goodness

I’ve quoted the NIV above, but other translations of Psalm 12:8 say “when evil is praised (or exalted) in the land.”

Friend, I want to encourage you today that even though we are living in a time when evil is praised in our land, hold fast to God’s Word. All the other components in the armor of God are defensive, but His Word—the sword of the Spirit—is the only offensive weapon in our arsenal.

Delight in God’s Word.

Respect and revere whatever He has to say about any given topic or issue.

Let us draw near to Him and know Him.

Only then will we be able to take our stand against the enemy’s schemes. And even if it seems like you are standing alone, please remember that our Lord has promised to never leave or forsake you.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Jesus

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