Psalm 146:3–4 (ESV): 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. 4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
This psalm is a short song of praise to God, expressing the psalmist’s intention to praise God as long as he lives.
There is one tension, one word of warning the psalmist gives as he sings. He warns everyone who listens not to put their trust in those who are in power, especially those in political power.
Kings, politicians, and other leaders do not give true salvation. When they die, their body returns to the earth and their plans are finished. Contextually for us today, when a politician loses an election, their agenda is finished and replaced by whoever won the election.
When my family lived on Cayman Brac, I was talking to a local about various buildings, projects, that were in the works. He ruefully told me that every time there was an election and someone else gained the ministry that oversaw that project, the purpose for the project would change.
This phenomenon is observable and has been repeated numerous times throughout the world as presidents, kings, dictators, governors, mayors and more lose power and are replaced by a successor.
In contrast to princes or politicians whose power is limited, blessed or truly happy is the one who puts their hope in God, the creator of the world. What is the confidence of those who trust in God?
- God is faithful.
- God gives justice to the oppressed.
- God provides food for the hungry.
- God sets prisoners free.
- God opens the eyes of the blind.
- God exalts those who have humbled, enslaved, by society.
- God loves the righteous.
- God watches over immigrants and foreigners.
- God fights for the widow and fatherless.
- God ruins those whose way is wicked.
I used to listen with great zeal to political radio commentary. I am still very interested and concerned about political issues. But a danger we face is believing a certain politician or political party will bring “salvation” to our country.
Salvation belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ. All kingdoms of this world, no matter how great, are tarnished by sin and injustice because humanity is corrupted by sin.
But the follower of Jesus belongs to the Kingdom of God, in which there is true salvation, righteousness, justice, and mercy. So I choose to seek the prosperity and expansion of the kingdom of Jesus.
Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are God, King of the universe. Your power does not wane, you will never lose an election or abdicate the throne. I can trust you and live securely with my hope in you, for you are eternal and you are good. Help me to promote the good news of your kingdom, that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. In Jesus’ name, Amen.