Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord! Psalm 146 ESV
The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
Many seek the face of a ruler,
but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice. Proverbs 29:25-26 ESV
In 1961 John F. Kennedy became the President of the United States. He was young and handsome and very popular. It was a time of hope and optimism for the United States, and many exciting things were happening. The economy was expanding and doing very well, so that many Americans felt comfortable and rich and there were plans to help the people who were poor. The civil rights movement gave hope that black people would have the rights they deserved in society, and some new laws were passed to protect these rights. The Peace Corps was started and gave young people a chance to help and serve in developing nations in the world. There was even talk of sending a man to the moon! But two years later a terrible thing happened. President Kennedy was shot to death while he was riding in a parade. He couldn’t do anything more for the American people, and anyone who had hoped for the great things he would do had to put their hopes somewhere else.
Psalm 146 warns us not to put our trust in the rulers of the world. Some rulers are blessings from God and do good things, but they are human beings. They make mistakes, and they won’t live forever. Their hopes and plans often die with them. Some rulers do bad things, and people might suffer because of what they do. People worry and are afraid of having a bad ruler. But this psalm reminds us that God is in control. It is foolish and wrong to trust a ruler to make everything right, or to be afraid that any ruler will make life too terrible to handle. It’s the Lord who brings justice and feeds hungry people, who watches over the poor and helps the prisoners. The Lord is the king of the world, and he watches over and takes care of his people no matter what.
God often does good things through the governments of the world, but there’s one thing no government and no ruler could ever do. No ruler is good enough or powerful enough to save people from their sins. Only God can do that. He sent his Son Jesus to be our Savior. The rulers of Jesus’ time put Jesus on the cross even though he wasn’t guilty of any crime. But God was working through this terrible injustice. Jesus died on the cross, but his plan to save us didn’t die with him. His death paid the penalty for our sins, and he rose again and conquered death for good. Jesus gives us salvation and peace with God, something no ruler in this world could ever give.
Dear Jesus, thank you for being our Savior and our wonderful king. Amen.