It seems like everywhere we turn, we are confronted with evil in this world. I hardly ever turn the news on anymore, simply because it is so depressing. Incidents like what took place in Las Vegas with the mass shooting seem more commonplace. Abortion is not only practiced but praised nationwide. Sexual immorality has been elevated to become a virtue in America. Do not mistake what I am saying – there is nothing new under the sun. There will always be darkness while we are in this world, as there always has been. The question we need to ask ourselves is how do we respond to it?
Sadly, I have seen a trend growing among many Christians in the past few years, especially with the rise of social media. It seems in many ways that the gospel and trust in God have been put on hold. Instead of placing our hope in Him, people are placing their trust in politicians or programs. Take a few moments to ponder if this sounds familiar. You open up one of your social media accounts such as Facebook or Twitter, only to be inundated with Christians trying to tackle the latest issue. Should we kneel during the anthem? Should healthcare be universal? Is Trump a good or bad president? Sadly, there are many Christians whose pages I scroll, and the only postings I can see are political in nature. There is nothing wrong with being aware of and concerned about current events. There is nothing wrong with casting your vote. But what I have seen have been symptoms of what we read in Psalm 146.
“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” (v 3-4).
Where is your trust? I remember hearing statements around the time of the election such as this: “If we want this country to turn around, then [candidate] must win the election!” I saw in the church divisions based upon political parties and
affiliations. After the results came forth, I saw open mocking and rejoicing, as well as open statements of bitterness and weeping. It was made very clear to me that many people’s trust was placed in princes and the sons of men. If you do this, you will be left very disappointed. Let’s examine the text together again.
In whom there is not salvation. Man is a mouth capable of promising many things, which he cannot deliver. How often are political campaigns built on false promises and lies of deliverance? (Ecclesiastes 5:8) Promises to deliver from oppression, or poverty, or heavy taxes, etc. fall by the wayside. Moreover, if man is not capable of bringing sure deliverance in these temporary things, how much less is man not capable of bringing us true salvation? We as Christians have become so distracted with all of the wrong things. We have become less concerned with the gospel and more concerned with social justice. We will not tell others of the one who can bring them true salvation for their soul, but we will campaign and promote a man/woman who promises to maybe bring temporary changes.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Man is mortal, and his plans will perish with him. Even within our governmental system, one only has 4-8 years to accomplish the changes he has set out to make. Yet everything that man has set out to do can be completely undone in a matter of a few months. There is no true deliverance, because man’s plans are only temporary. Man cannot even deliver himself from death. Why would we ever place all of our hope and trust in man?
“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” Blessed is the one who places his hope in God! Consider the words of Jeremiah 17:5-8, Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Blessed is the man whose trust is in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
The one who places his trust in men will be left with nothing! But the one who places his trust in God will be delivered! I have noticed that those who are caught up in politics to an unhealthy level are always worried, anxious, and fearful for our future. But notice what Jeremiah says about the one who trusts in God – he does not fear nor is anxious when things look dark. Because he remembers the God he serves is above and greater than all these things! Go back to Psalm 146 and consider the power that God has to deliver and save:
- He is the creator of this world, all powerful (v. 6)
- He is faithful, full of truth/no lies (v. 6)
- He executes perfect justice for oppressed (v. 7)
- He is generous and cares for the poor (v. 7)
- He is merciful, and pardons the prisoner (v. 7)
- He is kind, and opens the eyes of the blind (v. 8)
- He is good, and exalts the humble (v. 8)
- He is righteous, and he loves righteousness (v. 9)
- He cares for those who cannot care for themselves (v. 9)
- He is just, and punishes the wicked (v. 9)
Which of these statements above can be said about the leaders of this world, as it can be said about God? We serve a great and powerful Creator, who alone we must place our trust. No Republican, or Democrat, or Libertarian, or any other man is worthy of our complete trust. So what are we left with?
- Stop trusting the answers are in our political leaders. (Proverbs 3:5-6) We must trust in the Lord with all of our hearts. He alone is God over all the nations. He is in control.
- Honor those in office & pray for them. If we spent as much time praying, as we did complaining about what is going on in this nation, things might already be a whole lot different. We learn the attitude we ought to have towards government from passages like Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-5; Titus 3:1-2.
- Be kind & not divided. Stop binding Christians to your political agendas. Our citizenship is first and foremost in heaven. Look again at Titus 3 – speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, be gentle, show perfect courtesy to all people.
- Christian first. American second. Our citizenship is in heaven. The Constitution is not the 67th book of the Bible. We should be far less concerned about “our rights” and far more concerned with setting our mind on the things above (Col. 3).
- The gospel can change people. Romans 1:16 – the gospel is the power of God for salvation. REAL salvation. We can change the world around us – but it will not happen from the top down. It will happen heart by heart in the lives of those who are touched by the gospel.
So where is your focus? Where is your trust? As for me, I will not allow Satan to distract me with all the things of this world. Let us follow the words of the Psalmists and Prophets – put your hope in God!
- BJ Sipe