Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Who are you going to trust? Psalm 146 reflects on this topic. There are some in our world who we wouldn’t want to trust. Yet occasionally we are surprised, very surprised. I have a vivid recollection of a conversation I once had with someone, a complete stranger at the time. In his appearance he might have been homeless, someone left behind by society. Then again, he might have been a university professor. It’s always possible. He asked me probably the most intelligent question I had heard in that entire month. Other times I’ve needed to turn to people who show all the signs of being mentally disturbed, intoxicated, and quite lost in order to ask directions or other little bits of advice. Really? Do you know what city you are in? And I just asked you to tell me how the subway system works? You might have told me about an airport in another state, for all I know.
Eventually we end up trusting people, even people we don’t think are very trustworthy. The fact is, in most mundane situations, we won’t go so badly wrong. It’s pretty likely that we can find the library, that someone will know which direction is which, or that the nice person at the library reference desk will actually come up with a right answer to the more intricate question.
But in our Psalm, we are told not to trust in the nobility, humans who seem gifted and well placed. Why is this? Are they all out to cheat us? No, counter to what might be a popular statement in today’s Western world, they aren’t all a bunch of terrible cheats. Many times I’ve had high school students tell me that they don’t trust politicians of any sort. They all have bad motives and just want to destroy society. I have to disagree. In fact, though their policies and actions might have a harmful effect, at least some of the time, I have hardly ever met anyone who is actually intending to ruin our world. It’s simply that I would often disagree with the methods of their intended improvements.
That’s the issue with trusting in the nobles. They are humans just like we are. They may wish to do good, but it’s altogether possible that harm will come when they intended good. Then again, good may come of their efforts. They aren’t reliable. That’s exactly the problem.
In contrast to these human authorities, the Psalmist urges dependence on God. He is the one who is eternal, who understands all about the created order, who lasts forever and always wants to bring good. He rescues the righteous. He cares for the oppressed. Even when we got ourselves into these messes, he is the one who brings us out of harm’s way.
What about those times when it seems God’s help was too little or too late? That’s when we need to realize that this is the God who works outside of our own constraints. He may care perfectly well for people in eternity, though things look pretty bad for them just now. He sometimes rescues the oppressed of this world by taking them out of this world. He allows suffering and trouble sometimes so that we can see how bad it really is, then we can develop a true desire for goodness and mercy. And God is the one who has plent of that.
Yes, we look to the Lord, who is able to care for all this world.
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