In God We Trust
(H) For the director of the choir, set to “A Dove on Distant Oaks,” of David, a Miktam when the Philistines had seized him in Gath. (1) Be gracious to me, God, for man tramples on me. Fighting all day long, he oppresses me. (2) All day long, my foes trample on (me), for (there are) many fighting me arrogantly. (3) On the day (when) I am afraid, I will trust in you. (4) In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust. I will not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? (5) All day long they distort my words. All their thoughts (are) against me for evil. (6) They stir up strife. They lurk. They watch my steps as they have waited (to take) my life.
The repetitions in these first six verses provide us with a clear sense of the segment’s message. In the opening two verses, the phrase, “trample on me,” is repeated (vss. 1 & 2). Another phrase, “all day long,” occurs three times (vss. 1, 2, & 5). David uses three more repetitions to make his point. First, “afraid” and then “I trust” are both used twice (vss. 3 & 4). Finally, “in God” is found twice in the same line (vs. 4) to specify to whom the phrase, “in you” (vs. 3), is referring.
I. Trampled by my enemies all day long (1 & 2)
II. Trusting in God when I am afraid (3 & 4)
III. Treated as an enemy by those who seek my downfall (5 & 6)
When opposed and oppressed by our enemies, we should learn to replace our fears with confident trust in God.
Inserting the phrase, “United States national motto,” in Wikipedia’s search engine yields the following results: “The modern motto of the United States of America, as established in a 1956 law signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is ‘In God We Trust.’ The phrase...first appeared on United States coins in 1864. The constitutionality of the modern national motto has been questioned with relationship to the separation of church and state as outlined in the First Amendment. The United States Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue.”
According to some historians, the phrase, “In God We Trust,” was likely inspired by the lyrics of The Star-Spangled Banner which was written during the British American War in 1814 by Francis Scott Key and later adopted as America’s national anthem. In the last stanza Key wrote: “And this be our motto: in God is our trust.” Arguably, the phrase, “In God We Trust,” can be traced to a much earlier source, David’s affirmation in this psalm, “In God I trust” (vs. 4).
The question whether “In God We Trust” is an appropriate motto for a nation like the United States can be debated ad infinitum. However, there is no arguing with the axiom that trust in the God of the Bible is to characterize the lives of all believers. No matter what we face, whether enemies and oppression like David or trials and testing like Job, the truth expressed by these four words, “In God We Trust,” should be the unshakeable foundation on which we build our lives. If this be true, then with David we can ask, “What can flesh do to me?” and be assured that the answer is found in one word: “Nothing!”