Put not your trust in princes

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.

—Psalm 146:3-7a (ESV)

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.

—Psalm 131 (ESV)

The tendency to put one’s trust in rulers and other political figures is, of course, a universal one, a temptation to which we’re all prone; it’s not just a problem in American politics, by any means. This is not a respect in which America is exceptional. I do think, though, that we’ve been taking it to unusual heights of late, and especially during this election season—and this isn’t just a problem for one side, either. Certainly a number of conservative pundits grumbled about the response to Sarah Palin, calling it nothing more than a bad case of celebrity worship, and I can’t count the number of e-mails I’ve received with subject lines like “We MUST Win!” Well, no, sorry, we mustn’t. I firmly agree it would be better if we did and that bad things will happen if we don’t, but what of that? Even if we’re right, it might very well be better for the long term that the Democrats have their day to do whatever they want. And of course, one must always be humbly aware that one could easily be wrong.

That said, trust in princes is a greater problem on the Democratic side of the aisle, at least this time around; the Obama campaign was built on it right from the beginning—not just in the messianic language about epiphanies and “this is the moment the planet started to heal,” but in the whole theme of his campaign. The basic appeal has been, from day one, “Put your hope in Obama.” When you do that, this kind of thing is the logical consequence (HT: Bill):

To that I say, no; even if I were voting for the guy, I wouldn’t do that. The man is a politician, and a Chicago politician, no less. Anyone who puts their trust in politicians—any politicians—is a fool in the full biblical sense, and I use the term completely advisedly.

Put not your trust in politicians, for in them there is no salvation. Vote, yes; vote wisely, yes; understand the issues and decide carefully, yes, yes, yes. And then leave the results to God. Do what you consider he leads you to do, but don’t presume to judge what MUST happen, or to conclude that if the results don’t go your way that God must somehow have failed. To know the future and what must be is too great and too marvelous for us. Calm and quiet your soul in the presence of God, and rest lightly in him; pray for the winners, and for the losers, and for all of us, and put your trust and your hope in the only one worthy of them: in the Lord. Put your hope in him alone for this troubled time, and for the time to come, and you will be blessed, for your help and your hope will be the one who “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.” He takes care of his people, even when he leads us through the valley of the shadow of death, and he will take care of you.

Posted in Barack Obama, Faith and politics, Scripture, Video.


  1. What a great blog complete with some very appropriate comments on the behavior of politicians. The American public has spoken and you have Pres. Obama. I have noticed that the right-wing is calling for an organized resistance movement and by now, the half-baked left is probably screaming betrayal.

    With the world watching, one can only hope and pray.

Leave a Reply