Psalm 146:3-4 - Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
"Put not your trust in princes." We are well aware of the fact that our earthly rulers are sinful human beings, just as we are, although we do at times place our trust in them. Whatever our personal and political opinions of our leaders might be, we are called by God to respect and obey earthly authorities, "for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God" (Romans 13:1b). Princes rule under God's authority, and we are to pay taxes, revenue, and honor to those to whom such things are due.
Earthly rulers, especially as political candidates, make many promises. Some of these promises are kept, but others turn out to be false promises that lead to empty hope. Our rulers may have the best of intentions but, like us, they are sinful mortals. We are not to place our ultimate trust in them because in them "there is no salvation." Scripture warns, "The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue" (Psalm 33:16-17). Earthly rulers need, as we do, salvation that we cannot provide for ourselves, salvation that is found only in Jesus Christ.
The shining plans and promises of earthly rulers will eventually fail. When those rulers die, their lofty goals die with them. "When his breath departs ... on that very day his plans perish." When we die, our earthly plans will also perish. Only the plan of God lasts into eternity. God's promise to send a Savior, the woman's Offspring, was first heard in Eden. Down through the centuries, His promise endured and His plan never failed. The promise was fulfilled when Jesus, the woman's Offspring, came to live among us, to die for our sins, and to rise in triumph over death. In Jesus, "all the promises of God find their Yes" (2 Corinthians 1:20). When our breath departs, our bodies are returned to the earth to await the Last Day, when Jesus will return to raise us from death. Until that great day, the unfailing promise of God remains: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
We give our earthly princes, whatever office they might hold, the respect that is owed to them. We pray for them, that God would lead them to rule with justice and wisdom for the good of the people in their care. But our ultimate trust, now and for eternity, is not placed in earthly princes, but the Prince of Peace, Jesus our Lord, for "there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, King of kings, bless our earthly rulers. Give them the wisdom they need to govern those in their care. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Have you ever put your trust in someone only to be disappointed?
2. Think about your most trustworthy relationship. What makes it that way for you?
3. What's the best way to earn and maintain people's trust?
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