1 Praise the Lord!
Let my whole being praise the Lord!
2 I will praise the Lord with all my life;
I will sing praises to my God as long as I live.
3 Don’t trust leaders;
don’t trust any human beings—
there’s no saving help with them!
4 Their breath leaves them,
then they go back to the ground.
On that very same day, their plans die too.
5 The person whose help is the God of Jacob—
the person whose hope rests on the Lord their God—
is truly happy!
6 God: the maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
God: who is faithful forever,
7 who gives justice to people who are oppressed,
who gives bread to people who are starving!
The Lord: who frees prisoners.
8 The Lord: who makes the blind see.
The Lord: who straightens up those who are bent low.
The Lord: who loves the righteous.
9 The Lord: who protects immigrants,
who helps orphans and widows,
but who makes the way of the wicked twist and turn!
10 The Lord will rule forever!
Zion, your God will rule from one generation to the next!
Praise the Lord!
One thing I have noticed about leadership: your influence is fleeting. The second you move on from a position – actually, even the day you announce that you intend to move on from a position – your opinion suddenly matters a lot less. This is the nature of human power and authority. Your thoughts matter only so long as you’re the one in charge.
So the biblical advice not to put too much stock in human leadership makes sense. It’s not just life that’s fleeting, it’s authority itself. The psalmist contrasts this momentary influence of humans with the enduring power of God. The person who trusts in God, the writer says, “is truly happy.”
This is true, in part, because the desire for human influence carries within it the seeds of its own destruction. The way of the wicked – those who look out only for themselves – is crooked, forever doomed to failure. But the paths by which God leads the faithful are straight and true. Now, the path is not easy, but it ultimately leads us to places of rest and refreshing instead of fear and frustration.
This is because when we do God’s work, we put ourselves in alignment with the things God is already doing in the world: the ministry of feeding people, caring for them, healing them (vv.7-8). And how much more are we aligned with God’s concerns when we serve the most vulnerable among us (v.9)! Doesn’t it seem easier to work with, rather than against, the Creator of the Universe?
When we align ourselves with God, we don’t need to be overly concerned with our own power or influence. Trust me, God will give you enough of that to do whatever it is you’re called to do. We don’t need to seek extra. All we need to do is trust in our God, the faithful Creator whose power and authority will last forever. When we learn to do that, we can be truly happy!
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
How have you experienced the fleeting nature of human authority? What are some of the difficulties in trusting God to lead us toward a good result for our efforts rather than working furiously behind the scenes to make something happen for ourselves?
Prayer: God, we trust that when our work is motivated and led by you, we can trust you to see it through. So often, we seek to remove the obstacles through our own power and planning. Help us instead to work around the difficulties by your grace, trusting you to make the way for us. Amen.