In God We Trust?
(1) HALLELUJAH! Praise Yahweh, O my soul! (2) I will praise Yahweh while I live. I will sing praise to God continually. (3) Do not trust in princes, (nor) in the offspring of humanity in whom there is no deliverance. (4) When his spirit departs, he returns to the earth. On that very day his plans perish. (5) Blessed (is the one) whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in Yahweh, his God.
This psalm and all the remaining psalms in the Psalter (146-150) begin with the exclamation, “Hallelujah!” In this first half of Psalm 146, the key repetitions all include the names of God. “Yahweh” is found several times (twice in vs. 1 and once each in vss. 2 & 5). A form of “El,” the basic Hebrew word for God, occurs three times (once in vs. 2 and twice in vs. 5).
I. My devotion: praising Yahweh as long as I live (1 & 2)
II. My dependence: not in human help but in Yahweh’s deliverance (3-5)
Those who praise and trust Yahweh alone will experience his abundant blessings.
There is some truth in old clichés such as “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Usually this is taken to mean, “It is better to possess a lesser but certain advantage than the possibility of a greater one that may never happen.” Another old cliché, the counterpart to vs. 3, goes: “It is better to trust in someone you can see than in someone you cannot.” Instead of helping us, this adage can lead us into error, especially when it comes to spiritual deliverance.
Sadly, many of us far too readily put our hope in human resources rather than in our invisible, omnipotent God who has promised to be a sure help in the time of trouble. We ask Yahweh for wisdom and direction but then turn instead to one of our friends for advice. We claim that we rely on God’s financial provision, but then we place our trust in our savings, or worse, in a loan to tide us over a difficult stretch. We use prayer as a last resort rather than the first thing we do when we are in need. Like America’s currency we claim, “In God we trust” but actually find ourselves relying on what we can see, on our own strategies or on the help of others, when all along we should be looking to the wisdom and enablement of Yahweh.
When will we learn that the only one on whom we can ultimately rely is the one who promised never to leave us or forsake us? David in Psalm 62 expressed the same truth found our passage: “In God alone my soul (waits) in silence; from him (comes) my salvation. He alone (is) my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be greatly shaken” (Ps. 62:1 & 2). Later in that psalm David provides an additional exhortation: “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him; God is a refuge for us” (Ps. 62:8).