Faulty Focus: Placing Our Trust in Earthly Princes Who Cannot Save or Transform

Absolutely no one but God is worthy of our trust for now and eternity.

Trump’s morality would certainly causes this writer pause. But I wonder if the real stumbling block for many of us this presidential season is that we expect our “saviors” to be moral, you know, like us. Biblically speaking, our problem is not that we lack people with better morals in whom we can place our trust as president. It’s that we’re willing to put our trust in anyone. 

 

“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. Praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to God as long as I live” (Psalm 146:1-2).

These verses are intended to direct our total praise and trust in God alone. Indeed, the Psalm begins in praise. And it ends in praise (vs. 10).

But notice that right after the opening praise, the Psalm takes a rather abrupt turn.

It turns immediately to politics.

“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings who cannot save. When their spirits depart, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing” (vs. 3-4).

Since the 1980s, at least, I can’t think of a time when evangelicals haven’t placed great trust in U.S. Presidents to somehow lead the reversal of America’s moral landslide and to make life better for us.

Now that an old tape of Donald Trump has emerged, revealing what all of us should have known anyway, that the fish stinks from the head down, many of his evangelical supporters have either abandoned him, or are struggling for answers.

Here’s their problem. They placed too much trust in a would-be prince.

Many evangelicals have been “Never Trump” from the start. Why? He’s not Godly. In fact, he’s anything but. Other evangelicals have supported him. Why? Mainly out of fear that a Hillary presidency would forever slam shut the lid on what remains of the Judeo-Christian ethic in America.

The Psalmist, however, would not be caught in either of the above situations. And again it’s because he doesn’t trust princes, at all.

Trump’s morality would certainly causes this writer pause. But I wonder if the real stumbling block for many of us this presidential season is that we expect our “saviors” to be moral, you know, like us.

Biblically speaking, our problem is not that we lack people with better morals in whom we can place our trust as president. It’s that we’re willing to put our trust in anyone.

The writer of the Psalm wouldn’t trust the likes of John Hagee, Billy Graham, or the late D. James Kennedy as president. The Psalmist wouldn’t even trust in himself as president. Absolutely no one but God is worthy of our trust.

No man can save America. Should the most Christ-centered person run for president, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised should an embarrassing tape emerge. At the very least, when his or her spirit departs, all their plans come to a big zero.

So this voting season we all need to remember: Vote for the prince of your choice. But don’t make more out of your prince than does the Bible. Let your trust be in God.

Dr. John Barber is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Professor of Theology and Culture at Whitefield Theological Seminary in Lakeland, Florida.