Scripture: Psalm 146
Key verses: (3-7) Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. 4 When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish. 5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.
Reflection: As I write this our country is engaged in the quadrennial ritual of nominating candidates to run for President of the United States. We are asked daily, to the tune of millions of dollars of advertising, to “put our trust in princes” — particular princes. As we live through challenging times in the economy and to our security we are more and more inclined to put our trust in princes who say, “trust me and everything will be better.” Political parties may have different diagnoses of what ails us, but the solution is the same — elect (i.e. put your trust in) our candidate and all will be well.
This is not a new approach. The Psalmist knew that’s how people are. When our world is unsettled we look for someone who will promise security and well-being. But the Psalmist also knew, as we can see today, princes are mortal. When they die their great plans perish and they are replaced by another.
Don’t trust in in the transient, says the Psalmist. Trust in the one who is eternal — the God who made heaven and earth. The Psalmist goes on to say that this eternal God, in whom we can put our trust, always has compassion and love for those most in need. That God cares about justice for the oppressed, food for the hungry, freedom for prisoners, sight for the blind, support for those bowed down, love for the righteous, protection for the strangers, care for orphans and widows, and justice for the wicked.
If that is the platform of the faithful God, in whom we can put our ultimate trust, then perhaps we have a guide for evaluating and choosing the mortal princes that clamor for our trust, even if for the short time we have to put our trust in them. Princes are temporary. God, and God’s compassion, is forever.
“The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations.”
Prayer: Help us put our trust in you, O God. When we are anxious and afraid show us your steadfast love and compassion. Anchor our hope in you and what is important to you that we might find there our happiness and joy. In the name of the one who made the heaven and earth. Amen.
Author: Von Clemans
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].