By Ben W. Curtis
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Tracy City
We are quick to trust human leaders because we are drawn to things that we can see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears. But the longer we are preoccupied with the people around us, we lose sight of the person above us. It’s no wonder that American people are anxious, fearful, restless, and troubled! The Psalms call us to step out of our narrow view of the world and to focus more on God. If we put our hope in men, we will be disappointed. But if we put our hope in God, we will cultivate a soul that is happy in the Lord.
Psalm 146 is a call to praise the Lord because of his faithfulness. Do you ever talk to yourself? Well, you are not alone. In verse 1, the psalmist calls upon himself to “Praise the Lord, O my soul!” We are prone to wander, so we must command our souls to turn to God even when we don’t feel like it. Are you floundering in purposelessness, unsure of what to live for? Follow the psalmist’s lead and resolve to live the rest of your life praising God (v. 2). Command your heart to praise the Lord right now, and commit yourself for the long haul to live for His glory.
The psalmist gives us some reasons to praise the Lord and they can all be summed up in one statement: God is different from men, so we can trust in Him! Verse 3 warns us that even the most powerful and authoritative human beings cannot bring salvation. In the Old Testament, we see the patriarchs and kings failing to keep covenant with God again and again. While their lives demonstrate much weakness, they also reveal one great reason why we cannot trust in humans alone: death (v. 4). Even when blessed with good and godly leaders, we can’t guarantee that they will be alive tomorrow to deliver on their promises.
Since God is not subject to our human weaknesses (especially death), He is faithful forever. The psalmist declares: Happy is the person whose “help” and “hope” is in God (v. 5). You can trust in God because He is unlike human beings. He is the Creator of all things, from the highest point (“heaven and earth”) to the lowest point of creation (“the sea”), and all that is in between (v. 6a). While God’s power is unlimited, it is constrained by his faithfulness, justice, and compassion (vv. 6b-7a). Praise the Lord, for he is different from men!
Earlier in verse 3, the psalmist wrote that “there is no salvation” from men. But with God, there is true salvation. By sending His Son to take our sin and die on the cross, He has saved and will save everyone who turns from sin and trusts in Him. Jesus Christ sets free those who are imprisoned to sin. He gives sight to the spiritually blind. Even now, He watches over His children and sustains those who are weak and marginalized by the world. One day, He will come again to judge the wicked and bring them to ruin (vv. 7b-9). We cannot put our trust in man for salvation, but we can put our trust in Jesus Christ, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). How fitting that the psalm ends the way it began: “Praise the Lord!”