Read Psalm 146
1 Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
2 I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
8 the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The Lord reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.
Psalm 146 is the first of five “hallelujah” psalms that serve as the endcap to the book of Psalms. Each Psalm begins and ends with the Hebrew phrase hallelu-yah which is an exhortation to the reader to “praise the Lord!” By design, the holy book of poems concludes simply, reminding us again and again, “In every circumstance, praise the Lord!”
But Psalm 146 has even more direct insight into our world today. The Psalmist exhorts us not to trust in princes or in leaders who do not have the power to save. Even if they are not evil, they are incapable of saving others. No matter how much we prop up politicians and heroes as “the right man for the job,” salvation and hope are not found in their election. They are humans whose plans come to nothing the day they die.
Multiple times, the Scriptures echo the sentiment of Psalm 103:15-16: “As for man, his days are like grass…when the wind has passed over it, it is no more” (ESV). Isaiah 2:22 puts it even more plainly: “Stop trusting in mere humans who have but a breath in their nostrils.” Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and every other figure of power are completely incapable of even creating their own next breath. Put no hope in them for salvation.
Instead, the psalmist adjures us to set our hopes, our eyes, and our praises on the sovereign King who is faithful forever. He sees the weak, the oppressed, the fatherless, and He upholds their cause. Only those whose help is in the God of Jacob are truly blessed.
As we consider the maelstrom of society and seek to find answers to the very complex and devastating issues that plague our world, we must ask how much of our hope is placed in government and like-minded politicians and how much truly rests on the character and power of the Everlasting God. The Psalmist asks us to understand that no matter how good and godly our leaders are, our hopes in them will be crushed. But more than that, no matter how evil and destructive our leaders are, our hope in God can stand secure.
- How have you misplaced your hope in a human to save humanity?
- Consider where you place your hope. Do you trust in the character and power of God, regardless of who is politically in charge?
- What can you do to discipline your heart to set your hopes, eyes, and praises onto an everlasting and sovereign God and not have your peace disrupted by the “rise and fall” of earthly politicians?
By the Way
After reading Psalm 146, read Isaiah 61 and Luke 4:16-21. Deep dive into the correlation of Psalm 146 and its significance on the advent and purpose of Jesus’ ministry.
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