Thursday, October 29, 2015

Our Immortal Help (Psalm 146)

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB); screenshot taken from

They don't have much in life. They are weak and powerless. They belong to the lowest layers of the socio-economic strata. The world refers to them as the "less-fortunate" as they are not so "lucky" in life. And since they don't have the ability to defend themselves, they are the most vulnerable victims of abuse by those who have guns, goons and gold.

People who belong to this marginalized group would naturally dream of moving up higher. Who doesn't want a little improvement in life? Nobody enjoys hardship; everyone wants a little more comfort. If help is available, we can't blame the powerless for taking the offer.

Yet oftentimes in their pursuit of moving up to a higher stratum, they forget God. Their faith is not on the Sovereign God who has the power both to demote and to promote. Rather they put their trust is princes, those who possess political and financial advantages. What a fatal mistake! They have forgotten the Heavenly Judge who has the authority to put down one and exalt another (Psalm 75:7)

Not so the psalmist. This psalmist is calling upon all including the powerless ones to praise the Lord and has stated his commitment to praise the Lord as long as he lives (v.1,2). This is followed by his instruction to the people that they should not put their trust in the current political powers who are but mortals just like the rest of us (v.3-4). They too are subject to the frailties and limitations of the flesh. Putting one's trust in them is a dying hope for this hope dies with the prince.

Instead of holding on to a dying hope, we ought to choose a living hope. This hope will not die for it places its trust in the immortal God. Perhaps at present, one is "not so lucky" in the eyes of the world but if he has chosen to trust in the right person, he has positioned himself into a state of blessedness. Why? Let me give six reasons from the psalm at hand:

1st, He has put his trust in the God of Jacob (verse 5). Jacob is of course, the father of all the tribes of Israel. Putting one's trust in YHWH is putting one's trust in the same God who has founded the nation of Israel. One could not go wrong with the tried and tested foundation-builder namely YHWH, the God of Jacob.

2nd, He has put his trust in the Creator of the universe (verse 6). The one who made the earth and everything in it. The One who spoke the words and all the world came into order. Greater is he than anything else in the created order for every power in existence is indebted to Him.

3rd, He has put his trust in the faithful God (verse 6, "who remains faithful forever"). In other psalms, this faithfulness is said to be reaching up to the skies. In Psalm 89:2 says that God has established his faithfulness in heaven itself.

4th, He has put his trust in the God whose benevolence has already been experienced by many, even among the weakest of the weak and the poorest of the poor (verses 7-9)

The oppressed has experienced how he executes justice.
The hungry has experienced being fed by his hand
The prisoners has been set free.
The blind were given sight.
Those who are bowed down has been raised
The righteous are loved.
The strangers/aliens were protected.
The orphans and the widows were cared for.

Notice that in all these, it is God who is the doer of the action: he executes... he feeds... he sets free... he gives... he raises... he loves... he protects... he cares... Those who trust him contributed nothing. All they did was to put their faith in him. Isn't that a picture of our own eternal salvation? God did all the work. Salvation belongs to our God!

5th, He has put his trust in the God who doesn't show favor to the wicked
(verse 9c). In human systems of justice, the guilty often get away because they have the money and the influence to elude punishment. Not so in God's system of justice. God is not a respecter of persons. No matter who they are, if they will not repent and surrender to God, they will pay for their crimes.

6th, He has put his trust in the King whose reign is unending (verse 10). That is in contrast with the mortal princes whose plans and ambitions die with them. God however reigns forever. Forever the crown belongs to him. Forever the scepter belongs to him. Forever the throne belongs to him.  From everlasting to everlasting, he is God.

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