Daily devotion

The war of words

To renew my deliberate trustfulness I murmur to myself several times, ‘When the cares of my heart are many, thy consolations cheer my soul’.

Psalm 12

Verses 1 and 8 remind me that prayer does not necessarily change my circumstances, but rather renews my strength to pass through them. The beginning of this psalm is filled with chatter, tweets, lies, empty talk, the double tongue and bombast. At the end, the wicked are still strutting around and vileness(cheapness, excess) still achieves celebrity, despite the psalmist’s cry for God to intervene. So what does the prayer achieve? Verse 5 shows that the psalmist receives an assurance that the Lord does see the comfortless troubles… of the needy; he hears their groaning and he will place them in the safety for which they pant

I join the psalmist in his delighted meditation in verse 6 on the words of the Lord, their purity, their value and their perfection. I think of the eighteenth-century prison reformer, John Howard, racked with fever in the Hague, surrounded by vileness, meditating on the psalms. James 3:1-12 reminds us that no one can tame the tongue: the only blunt instrument that grows sharper with constant use! Have I been a victim in a war of words? Have I been damaged by some cruel taunt or angry slur which has reverberated in my heart, perhaps for years?

Am I now troubled by lies, gossip or flattery? I turn away, into the pure light of the Lord’s promises, which exceed all that I can desire. I allow my heart to be warmed by words which bring light and peace to the heart: suffering, silence, prayer, love, adoration, death on the cross. It is by facing up to the devil’s lies that I grasp the truth more clearly. It is by feeling the lure of celebrity that my rejection of it becomes more clear-eyed and sober. I walk out into the world with my hear held high.

Unfired pots are weak and fragile. It is the fire that makes the beauty last. For this fire I thank God

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