Dispatch Three Hundred One

Posted: December 12, 2018 in Fifty-Seventh Bundle
Tags: , ,

PSALM 146

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes,
    in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
    on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their 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.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
    the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
    he upholds the orphan and the widow,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

The counsel to “not put your trust in mortals” should not be heard as a justification of suspicion and mistrust. A better translation might read “don’t place all your hope in human beings who are naturally imperfect, passing away, and short-sighted” – else you’re just setting yourself up for abuse and disappointment.

To trust someone and to put your trust in them are two different things, the first meaning to depend on and risk confidence in another, while the second is putting in them all your hope for happiness, meaning in life, and personal fulfillment. The first is necessary for healthy relationships; the second is setup for disillusionment and bitterness. If you elevate another human being to the extent that they become your constant obsession and idealized picture of everything you hope for and long to be, you must expect (although, of course, you will refuse to accept) that your life will have a cyclical rise-and-fall effect, since every idol faithfully disappoints its worshiper.

For U.S. President Ronald Reagan once said, “Trust everyone, but cut the cards.” That is to say, trust others as far as you need to (and that’s pretty far when you carefully consider) but don’t set yourself up for needless exploitation and ongoing injury. Put your trust, rather, in the God “who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them.” Beneath and beyond, above and within all things is the One whose grace is ever sufficient to your deepest need.

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