Trust Not in Princes
1Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
3Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
5Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
7who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
9The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!
I wish this weren’t so, but this psalm focused my thoughts on the cultural and political landscape we all face here in the U.S. every day of the week. It seems as if we are all bound on one side or the other and the two sides refuse to get along. And that focus almost always rests on someone; a human leader for that side who seems to hold all the cards. This Psalm brings the fallacy of that belief to light.
First of all, this psalm begins in the correct place; that being the praise of the Living God. Praise the Lord, O my soul! I love that phrase, because it says I will praise God clear down to the core of my being. This isn’t just lip service, this is praise with all that I am. And those praises will continue as long as I live. The psalmist doesn’t say that he’ll sing God’s praises, “as long as I’m happy” or “as long as I agree with God about everything.” No – it simply states that I will praise God as long as I have breath in this body.
Verse 3 says it all when it comes to reliance upon a world leader. Put not your trust in princes … in whom there is no salvation. We’re caught in a time when reliance upon a leader takes over the culture. We’re quickly (and all too easily) panicked by the actions of another human being. Somewhere along the line, we became convinced that our leaders have ultimate power to do whatever they want. They do not, for ultimate power lies in the hands of God alone. None of these leaders will live forever. All of their plans will perish with them. So even if you hate what’s going on, know that this too shall pass. These leaders will go down to the grave just like everyone else, and someone new will take their place. The cycle has been on repeat since Adam and Eve.
Perhaps my lesson for today is “take in less media”. Instead I would do well to spend more time thinking about the glorious God who loves us and made a way for our salvation. That is eternal.