Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quick Look: Psalm 146

Let's take a quick look at Psalm 146 (TM).
  • "...Do not put your trust in princes..." This is not in contradiction to the radical humility of Psalm 141 (TM) where it says, "...Let the righteous strike me..." and indicates God's person, the righteous, acting on God's behalf - the trust is really in God, resulting in our submission to God's correction through even imperfect man. Here in Psalm 146 it simply says not to put your trust in princes, meaning don't put your trust in any man, even those at the top of the food chain.
  • "...on that very day their plans come to nothing..." This is why you can't put your trust in them: they won't necessarily be around to put their plans into action or make their stated intentions reality.
  • "...Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob..." This is in contrast to princes.
  • "...the Maker of heaven and earth..." This emphasizes the scope of His power, infinite, and the length of His days, without beginning or end.
  • "...the Lord, who remains faithful forever..." Here's a killer reason for putting your trust in God: His faithfulness, His loyalty. Power alone isn't sufficient criteria. The very powerful might be completely indifferent to you, or worse, might be bent on your destruction, but the Lord has pledged Himself to us, and His word is true.
  • "...Who executes justice for the oppressed..." I love this justice stuff, and so apparently does God. It's what defines the good guys versus the bad guys, even though we now know that there aren't necessarily any strictly good guys other than the Lord, but this is the criteria for trying to be part of the good guys' team: 1) identification with the oppressed - we've all been there, even if we're only oppressed by our own foolishness, and 2) an interest in basic decency and fairness, a desire to treat people well and live in community with them.
  • "...The LORD sets prisoners free..." Notice how similar this language is to Isaiah 61 (TM), which is the passage Jesus read from in Luke 4 (TM) when announcing the beginning of His ministry. All this is named here as appropriate reasons for trusting the Lord instead of man and it has to do with His stated purpose for being on earth. I think that's a slam dunk. It's convincing; it's compelling. Folks go for self-help or personal growth all the time, with a fraction of these prospects.
  • "...the LORD gives sight to the blind..." Talk about personal growth. I need this. I'm so blind to all kinds of things - the truth about myself being at the top of the list. The Lord is worth of your trust because He shows you how things really are.
  • "...the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down..." Do you feel beaten or bruised or just really, really tired? He lifts you up if you allow it. This is a picture of restoration. Has the weight of whatever it is you've been carrying gotten just too heavy? The Lord lifts you up. "Come to me," says Jesus (TM). "Cast all your cares on Him," Peter tells us (TM).
  • "...the LORD loves the righteous..." The Lord loves those who join Him. He loves everyone else, too, I believe, it's just that this is how you allow His work in your life. You join up.

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