Political leaders clamor for our attention, assuring us that they know the best way forward. God’s Word reminds us not to trust in “powerful people,” but to trust in God!
Nehemiah, chapters 5-6; Psalm 146; Luke, chapter 24
Psalm 146 (NLT):
Praise the Lord! Let all that I am praise the Lord. I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.
Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever.
He gives justice to the oppressed, and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly. The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations. Praise the Lord!
Don’t Trust in Powerful People
We’re heading into yet another election season. Or maybe it’s just one continuous election. The point is that we’re about to be bombarded even more with political advertisements. But instead of talking about issues, those advertisements will largely focus on fear. As followers of Jesus, we should not fall for that! I’ve said this before: Fear is Satan’s tool. We shouldn’t fall for it, and we should never use it!
Today’s reading from Psalm 146 reminds us where our focus should be. Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. That’s true whether we view those powerful people as being “good” or “bad.” Adolf Hitler envisioned a thousand-year Reich; it lasted twelve years, and ended with his suicide. The problem is that “powerful people” are operating out of their own knowledge and strength; and those are always limited.
Trust in God
In contrast to “powerful people” with their limited knowledge and resources, the Psalmist points us toward God. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. God created this world, and everything in it. He sustains it all, in spite of our best efforts to destroy it. The Lord will reign forever.
Of course, there are those who refuse to believe in an almighty Creator. They believe that the world, and life – including human life – is the result of a cosmic “accident.” But that’s where “powerful people” get it wrong. None of this was an “accident”; it resulted from God’s intentional decision to create. The arguments for an “unintentional” creation are based more on humanity’s desire to not acknowledge God than on scientific proof.
A few weeks ago, I was reading an article about some new space discoveries from the Webb telescope. One quote said that the new discoveries “don’t make sense” based on previous scientific theories. And these are the folks we’re trusting when they tell us that creation was a big accident? “Don’t trust in powerful people” – whether their “power” comes from knowledge or wealth or strength. Trust in God!
Application: Don’t Trust in Powerful People
In the middle portion of the psalm, the Psalmist lists things that God does:
- Keeps every promise forever (verse 6)
- Gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry (verse 7)
- Frees the prisoners (verse 7b)
- Opens the eyes of the blind (verse 8)
- Lifts up those who are weighted down (verse 8b)
- Protects the foreigners, and cares for the orphans and widows (verse 9)
- Frustrates the plans of the wicked (verse 9b)
That last comment – he frustrates the plans of the wicked – remind us yet again why we don’t trust in powerful people. God’s actions might not always be apparent. His promises don’t come on our timetable. But we can trust in him, because the Lord will reign forever!
Father, thank you for reminding us to put our trust in you, not to trust in powerful people. We confess that it is easy to trust in “powerful people” sometimes – especially when they tell us what we want to hear. Give is wisdom and discernment to see your plan and your purposes in the midst of all of the distractions of this world. Help us to hear your voice through the noise of our culture and our political “discourse.” Joyful are those whose hope is in you! Amen.