Our recent presidential election has left some in need of healing and others filled with cautious hope. Reflecting on the ups and downs of human leadership, the Psalmist wisely cautions us to “not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save,” (Psalm 146:3). National leaders’ inability to save is not the result of their lack of effort or deceitful intentions. Even the best of human leaders fail to provide the salvation for which we all long. The Psalmist explains this by focusing on the brevity of their lives: “When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing,” (Psalm 146:4, emphasis added). In contrast to human leaders the Psalmist declares that God “is the Maker of heaven and earth” and “remains faithful forever” (Ps 146:6). God will not disappoint; a faithful God cannot disappoint. “Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God,” (Psalms 146:5). The remainder of Psalm 146 goes on to describe the activity of God on behalf of His people, especially toward the weak and vulnerable. He is variously described as upholding, giving, setting free, lifting up, loving, watching over, and sustaining. The Psalmist exaltingly concludes, “The Lord reigns forever!” (Ps 145:10). Because God’s plans never fail, we are indeed blessed if we hope in His help.
The challenge for us is to believe this passage when the script of our lives seems to follow a different narrative. Is God truly faithful when we feel weak and vulnerable? Naomi faced this challenge. Could she continue to hope in God’s help when her difficulties seemed insurmountable? The death of both her husband and grown sons left her weak and vulnerable. Age made it impossible for her to have another son to care for her and carry on the family line. It seemed that not only the circumstances but even God had turned against her (Ruth 1:21). Yet, in the midst of her destitution, God gave her someone better than “seven sons” (Ruth 4:15) to uphold her, sustain her, and love her—a daughter-in-law named Ruth. Through Ruth God blessed Naomi with a son in her old age. When Naomi reached down to lift up and cradle the baby boy in her arms, the women present declared, “Naomi has a son!” (Ruth 4:16). Naomi’s family line, from which King David would come, was preserved. One thousand years later, the Son of David was born to a young mother in humble circumstances. Because God’s plans never fail we are indeed blessed if we hope in His help. Salvation comes from the Lord.
2 Peter 3:11-18
Like Naomi, or the worshipers addressed by the Psalmist, we are blessed when we put our hope in God particularly as we eagerly await Christ’s Second Coming. Peter reminds us that our faithful God is not “slow in keeping his promises,” (2 Peter 3:9). He will bring about that which we have anticipated: the “new heavens and new earth, where righteousness dwells,” (2 Peter 3:13). Our hopes do not rest on the ephemeral promises of human leadership, but on the promises of an eternally faithful God. We are blessed as we continue to put our hope in his help because God’s plans never fail.