“Songs in the key of life: who can I trust?” – Psalm 12 (John MacDiarmid)

Notes on Sermon Preached at PCF on 18 May 2014

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“Trust no one”. Those I remember were words given as advice to me when I was much younger. Although I was very young and quite naïve I do remember thinking “there’s something in that”. And as time goes on, the hard knocks of life tell us that trusting people can often cause you a problem.

But the message of this song is that there is someone we can trust totally, absolutely and in every situation. That person is God. Her will never fail us, leave us, let us down or disappoint us. And that is the assertion today.

Who Can I trust? God.

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful any more;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbour;
they flatter with their lips
but harbour 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 for ever from the wicked,
who freely strut about
when what is vile is honoured by the human race.

Postmodernism would have us believe that there is no absolute trust, that truth is whatever you want it to be. Whatever works for me is right for me, and whatever works for you is right for you.

Taken to its extreme this leads us to truly terrifying conclusions. If there is no absolute truth, then there is no absolute right or wrong and I am free to do whatever I wish. If I deem it to be in my interests to kill the elderly, murder the unborn child or to commit genocide, there is no one that can tell me that I am wrong. Whatever works for me.

It is, of course, nonsense. Everyone knows that there is absolute truth, even though morally it suits us to pretend that there isn’t. The laws of gravity on this earth are absolute, the law of life and death cannot be cheated and much more.

Pilate in his desperate cry “what is truth?” revealed his postmodern thinking. It enabled him to take bad decisions to justify a political ambition. We live in a world committed to blurring the lines between truth and falsehood, a world in which truth is not seen as a non-negotiable, a world in which words mean what we want them to mean.

So – who are we to believe?

1. The Words of Men

Everyone lies to their neighbour;
they flatter with their lips
but harbour deception in their hearts.

Now you may well say – “its not as bad as that”. Do you trust the advert at promises you a better life if you buy the product? The politician who tells you that he deeply respects your position and will fight for you because he wants your vote. The boss who tells you that he will protect your interests whilst negotiating the latest round of redundancies? Of if you’re a boss, the worker who rings in sick on a sunny Friday afternoon?

The fact is that truth is in short supply!

And this double standard can have a devastating effect on the weak, who are exploited, put upon and threatened:

the wicked,
who freely strut about
when what is vile is honoured by the human race.

No wonder the song writer cries out

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful any more;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.

So – who can I trust?

2. The Words of God

Jesus described himself as the truth. So ultimately the truth is a person. God himself is truth and therefore everything that he says is truth. It is impossible for God to lie and we can trust his words totally:

And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver purified in a crucible,
like gold refined seven times.

One of the biggest ways we can let ourselves down is by not knowing or not believing what God has said to us. If we believe what others tell us before we believe what God tells u we are opening the door to error, deception and sin.

3. The  Words of us

We are, because God is a God of truth, a people of truth. We are called upon to reflect the God we worship, so we are called to speak the truth – not a version of the truth – to one another. We are to be known as a people who tell the truth in our workplace and in our homes and deal honestly and with integrity with one another

As Christians we want to know the truth about ourselves, about God , about heaven, hell, judgement and eternity. We want to know the truth about how we should live with one another, about raising our children and managing our money. We want to know how to worship God and spend eternity with Him.

And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver purified in a crucible,
like gold refined seven times.

Let’s live by the truth.

 

John MacDiarmid

May 2014