Psalm 120.1-2, 5-7
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue … Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!”
The path the Lord calls us to walk is not an easy path. In Psalm 120 quoted above, the opening words are “In my distress” and the last word is “war.” As Eugene Peterson says, this is not a happy psalm, but it is an honest and necessary one.
Meshech and Kedar were hostile tribes. Meshech was located well to the northeast of Israel, the far northern mountains. Kedar was located well to the southeast of Israel, the deep Arabian deserts. Like the believers today, the psalmist lived among unbelieving people, some of whom were people of violence who hated peace.
The first step toward God is a step away from the lies of the world. For this reason the psalmist prays, “Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.”
We need to be delivered from the lies of advertisers who try to persuade us what to desire and buy.
From the lies of entertainers who distract us with a manufactured and airbrushed view of reality.
From the lies of pundits who attempt to lecture us on morality and politicians who control us through public policy.
From the lies of activists who promote a twisted view of social and sexual identity.
From the lies of academicians who teach about the world without telling of the God who made it.
From the false religious teachers who “heal the wounds of this people lightly.”
From the people who tell me of life, but omit Jesus; who are wise in the ways of the world, but ignore the ways of God’s kingdom.
Trust God, beware the deceivers, and stay on the path.
“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you … then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path.” (Proverbs 2.1, 9)