Scripture: Psalm 146
Key verse: (3) “Do not put your trust in princes, . . .”
Reflection: Princes. We don’t have them anymore in this country. Thank God. Yet when we read this word in Scripture it is good for us to substitute the word: leader. “Do not put your trust in leaders, . . .”
Leadership is a big deal. We have leadership training all over the place, in our businesses, in non-profit agencies, and yes, in the Church. Leadership matters. We know that. As we experience the national conventions of our two political parties we are becoming more and more aware about how leadership matters. And closer to home in this congregation, as we have elected a new pastor/head of staff, one of the things so evident about Joe Clifford is his stellar leadership. His leadership mattered recently in Dallas. His leadership will matter here.
Yet the psalmist says, “Do not put your trust in leaders . . .” If you do, you will never be happy, blessed, nor experience fullness of life and delight.
Why this warning about leaders? It is because every one of them is mortal. Every one of them dies.
This means we cannot ultimately count on any leader for plans or an agenda that will make everything right — that will “bring in the kingdom,” so to speak.
This congregation has called a wonderful pastor. Yet, as good as Joe Clifford is, as important as his leadership will be, he will not make all things right!
“Do not put your trust in leaders, . . . Happy are those . . . whose hope is in the LORD their God, . . .” The invitation of the psalmist is to never allow even the best of our leaders to become an idol. Instead we are to always entrust our lives, this world, and the future to the LORD alone. And notice why we are called to place our trust in the LORD. It is not only because of the LORD’s permanence and power. It is because of the LORD’s agenda. Did you notice that agenda? Listen to it: —
executing justice for the oppressed,
giving food to the hungry,
setting the prisoner free,
opening the eyes of the blind,
lifting up those who are bowed down,
loving the righteous — those living in right relation with neighbor,
watching over the strangers (read immigrants, aliens),
upholding the orphan and the widow,
bringing to ruin the way of the wicked.
The fulfillment of this agenda is the way history is ultimately going, regardless who the human leaders are. History will go this way precisely because the LORD is God.
It is as we trust this LORD and trust this agenda, and align our lives with it, that we will be deeply happy. Then we will know blessing. Then we will experience fullness of life and delight. So today, how are you leaning into trusting this agenda — the agenda not of any human leader but of the LORD?
Prayer: Gracious God, give us the courage to trust you alone to make all things new. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Pete Peery
[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].