The Danger of False Words
Yael Eckstein | June 19, 2022
Save me, LORD,
from lying lips
and from deceitful tongues. — Psalm 120:2
In honor of my father, Fellowship Founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, of blessed memory, and his life work helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.
Psalm 120 is the first of 15 psalms called “Songs of Ascent.” One reason these psalms are given this title is because they are especially conducive to lifting a person up from hopelessness and helplessness into knowing that anything is possible with God. Through reciting these psalms a person ascends, rising above circumstances and coming closer to God.
In this particular psalm, King David voiced concerns over the lies that were spoken about him. Like David, the Jewish people have often been the target of slander and lies designed to hurt, if not destroy. Whether it was the countless blood libels spread in Europe, claiming that Jews used the blood of innocent Christians in baking Passover matzah, or lies spread by Arab propaganda designed to convince the world that Israel intentionally kills children – Israel has been the victim of lies time and again. Like David, we pray “Save me, LORD, from lying lips.”
In this psalm, David likened lies to “a warrior’s sharp arrows” (v.4). The Jewish sages explain that just as an arrow is designed to kill from afar, so, too, can false words bring danger to those at a distance from the speaker. No wonder David turned to God for help! How else could he protect himself from the danger of false words, the sharp arrows pointed in his direction?
The Danger of False Words
Appropriately, this psalm is often read when Israel is in imminent danger. The last verse especially resonates with every Israeli, every Jew, and every lover of Zion. David wrote: “I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war” (v.7).
Israel has only ever wanted peace. While our enemies pretend to want peace as well, they have proven repeatedly that they want nothing less than the complete destruction of Israel; “they are for war.” When our enemies saw that they could not defeat us militarily, they resorted to the age-old anti-Semitic tactic of telling lies. This is their warfare – and so much of today’s media is quick to spread this deceit as truth. This is how they try to defeat us. Who can protect Israel from such vicious lies?
The answer, of course, is God. One day the truth will become clear and until that time God will protect His people from the danger of false words.
But we need to do our part. Whether it’s doctored pictures or blatant lies, we need to uncover the truth and spread it. With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to learn the truth and share it. Our enemies may use their words to harm, but we can use our words to heal. We can use our words to speak the truth, and most importantly, to pray. Pray for the safety of Israel and protection from all destructive lies.