In God We Trust (Psalm 146)
I will stand in line and vote Tuesday. I’m thankful that we have the privilege of electing our leaders. My mind is made up and it shouldn’t take me more than a minute to mark my choices.
I’m something of a political junkie. Politics has always interested me. I’ve always kept up with campaigns. I’ll stay up quite late Tuesday night watching results.
But I really hate politics. Politics tends to divide the body of Christ-I know Christians supporting four different presidential candidates. I’ve become disillusioned with a bunch of politics. I’ve believed in some candidates big time and some of those candidates disappointed me after they were elected. It seems that many folks can’t agree to disagree-they get vicious, call names, and sling mud.
Maybe you’re like I am this morning. You know for whom you’ll vote and why, but you’re tired of the mudslinging and viciousness. Maybe you’ve been “burned” by a candidate.
This morning’s text reminds us: “Trust in God, not in political leaders.” This psalm teaches us that God reigns, God provides for his people, and government leaders come and go.
It would be really interesting to know who wrote this psalm and when. We know “dirt” on many of Israel’s leaders. Saul tried to kill David and took spoil from the Amalekites. David had an affair, killed the woman’s husband, and then participated in a cover up. Solomon married foreign women who turned his heart away from God. That’s only the first three kings!-Time prevents a complete run down of evil Israelite kings. Those kings could never do what God could do and trust in them was misplaced trust. The inspired author reminds us not to put our trust in political leaders. “Trust in God, not in political leaders.”
Scripture (Psalm 146)
verse 1: Praise the Lord!
The psalm begins and ends the same way: “Praise the LORD!” In a world without easy access to books, repetition was a common memory device. Repeating something at the beginning and end of a passage would say, “Here’s the point.” Thus, the entire point of this psalm is praise to God.
verse 2: I will praise the Lord as long as I live
This is important, for the psalmist will compare and contrast the eternal God with temporary rulers.
verses 3-4: Put your trust in God, for he reigns forever
Earthly rulers cannot help, for they do not reign forever. Some prince might be preparing to help you when he dies.
How temporary are our rulers? How many have died before they could finish their terms? Lincoln, Kennedy, FDR. How many Presidents have been defeated for re-election? No matter who is elected Tuesday, he won’t govern forever-But, God does!
Verses 5-6: Put your trust in God, for he is powerful.
It’s hard to get things done in Washington. God doesn’t have that problem-He made the world out of nothing. Whoever the President is spends four years trying to pass an agenda. God spent six days creating the world. The President of the United States is the most powerful man in the world; Our God is much more powerful than he!
verses 7-9: Put your trust in God, for he does the right thing.
The activities listed in these verses were commanded of Israel and they were considered the activities of good kings. But, no king could carry out these activities with any perfection. We’re all sinful. Yet, God can carry these activities out with his absolute moral perfection.
Some of what God does seems especially pertinent to modern political discussions:
- He gives food to the hungry. The economy is a focal point of the campaign. People are hurting throughout the country. Both major party candidates are telling how they will help economy. God is the One who will provide for his people. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33). That’s a promise from a God who reigns forever, who has all power, and who will always do what is morally right.
- He watches over the sojourners. We have heard a fair amount about immigration. Obviously, illegal immigration is a problem from a Christian worldview. We can’t simply “wink” at disobedience to law. But, not every immigrant is an illegal immigrant. God cares about the souls of every person on this planet and so should we.
- The way of the wicked he brings to ruin. We have heard some about moral issues. Abortion and gay marriage are always “hot button” issues in a campaign. People on both sides are concerned about what happens if the other guy wins. We should care about the moral state of this nation. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov 14:34). “It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness.” (Prov 16:12).But, God is going to take care of wickedness in the end. Even if our government supports every evil act imaginable. God will still sit upon His throne: “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.’” (Rev 19:6). God will judge evil in the end: Revelation 20:11-15. Take heart-Trust in God, not political leaders.
Trust in God, not political leaders. But, how do we show our trust in God in a practical way? We pray. Prayer affirms that we don’t have all the answers. Prayer affirms that we are dependent on the Lord-i..e, that we are trusting in him.
We’ve been instructed to pray for our leaders. 1 Timothy 2:1-3. What better thing can we do than-in trust-turn this over to God? Pray that the country might act as God would have it. Pray that God’s will be done. Pray for whoever wins. Pray that he might have wisdom. Pray that he might have courage to do what’s right. Pray that he might bring honor and glory to God.
Do you need the prayers of this church this morning?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Dale Ridge church of Christ in Roanoke, Virginia.