July 28, 2020
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 28 July 2020
Psalm 146 is a declaration of praise to God because He “will reign forever.” In the earlier psalms, the psalmist revealed his grief and shame, in addition to his difficulties and doubts, even his sins and confessions. However, in Psalm 146, the psalmist considered difficulties in the world – oppression, hunger, imprisonment, ailments, discouragement, injustice, the fatherless and the widow, and wicked people – and rather than letting those realities preclude any hope for the future, he praised the Lord.
The psalmist recognized the fundamental problem in the world is that sin is rampant. The solution, he confessed, was not to “trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation” (v. 3). Princes could also be translated “nobles,” meaning politicians or rulers. The psalmist recognized that government could not provide salvation; they could not save his nation or even themselves. Consequently, it is superior for the believer to trust in God.
The psalmist did not mean to imply that government is unimportant since God ordained it to protect those who “do what is good” and to punish those who “do what is evil” (Rom 13:3-4). Proverbs 29:2 declares, “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules, people groan.” People are benefited when government leaders rule well, and suffer when they do so poorly. Nevertheless, the most fundamental problems in the world today are because of sin, which means the solution must be spiritual. For this reason, Ephesians 6:12 reveals, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood.”
The context of that statement in Ephesians (biblically and culturally) is that the Bible is declaring not to become focused upon government leaders. During the time in which Ephesians was written, the Roman government was exceedingly corrupt and would soon begin a relentless persecution against the church, which is why Scripture declared, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” The idea is not to forget there is a spiritual dimension that manifests in all the problems in the world, including corrupt rulers.
Consequently, the solution must be spiritual which is why Romans 1:16 affirms that the gospel message of God’s grace received by grace through faith in Jesus Christ “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” The gospel alone can change a person’s heart, and if believers want to live “a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity,” they must – as a matter of first priority – pray for salvation and “knowledge of the truth” for those in positions of authority (1 Tim 2:1-4). Government is important yet the primary focus of the believer is upon the Lord.
Psalm 146:10 celebrates the fact that “the Lord will reign forever.” Certainly, the psalmist was mindful of the problems in the world, yet resolved not to trust “in mortal man,” which would include thinking government would remedy those issues. Believers must never allow praise of the Lord to be dictated by one’s circumstances. The Lord is an abundant Helper to those who trust in Him, and for that He is rightly to be praised.