“You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and shield.” (Psalm 115:11 HCSB)
The powerful presentation of the promise of hope and change loomed large in propelling Barack Obama into the Presidency of the
Many now wish that they had examined the nature of the person offering
audacious hope and the policies bringing such radical change. The same promises are being promoted this
election cycle, and one wonders if there will be a majority who will buy it
again—and it’s not that the other side doesn’t need careful scrutiny concerning
what they are selling as well. United
But, this is not a diatribe against a Democratic President or a recommendation of a Republican candidate. It has been well said that in our form of government, we get the leaders we deserve. Could it be that failed leadership is more of a symptom than a cause of our problems? Perhaps the pain we are going through is to tell us that we have a critical disease. The pain alerts us to the malady, but it is not the sickness.
We need hope and change in
hope and change—and we cannot have the former until there is the latter. Hope is to be found only in God and we will
find Him only when we change—what Scripture calls repentance. While having a good government in place is
not insignificant—elections have consequences—lasting blessing comes only when
we become good citizens who seek the goodness of God with all our hearts! America
All about us, we see the evidence of societal rot: broken marriages, abandoned children, the holocaust of abortion, the celebration of perversion, rampant crime, and the list goes on. The nation is reeling—and the wounds are self-inflicted! The patient is dying. We are in critical condition! Is there any hope? Psalm 115 tells us there is.
WE MUST TAKE THE MEDICINE.
“Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your faithful love, because of Your truth. Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’ Our God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases.” (v.1-3)
Medicine that remains in the bottle is only potentially helpful! Are we desperate enough to take this pill? You certainly hear the urgency in the Psalmist’s heart cry.
WE SEEK THE GLORY OF GOD. “Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your faithful love, because of Your truth.” (v.1) Far from being a self-centered prayer, it is a God-exalting plea. We can trust God to hear this kind of prayer. It is grounded in His concern—His glory—and in His character—His faithful love and flawless truth.
WE SHOW THE REALITY OF GOD. “Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’” (v.2) Why indeed! The reality of God should be seen so dramatically in the difference He makes in us as His people. We are to be the light of the world and salt of the earth. Light and salt make a dramatic difference. Sadly, we have become assimilated into the world and make scant difference. People ignore our message. But, when God shows up, they can’t ignore Him!
WE SUBMIT TO THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD. “Our God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases.” Never forget who is in charge. Even if we falter in doing God’s will, He will be faithful to fulfill it. His purposes cannot be thwarted. Satan has no chance to stop His inexorable march to reclaim the universe. The title deed belongs to Him. It is better to submit in brokenness to His Lordship, than to be broken to pieces in resisting it. That is the choice
WE MUST TURN FROM PLACEBOS.
“Their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. They have hands but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk. They cannot make a sound with their throats. Those who make them are just like them, as are all who trust in them.” (v.4-8)
The quack, Satan, offers a placebo—a substitute with no medicinal value. It lulls us into thinking it is a cure, while we continue to perish. We have witnessed our nation for decades now taking one sugar pill after another. We are swallowing snake oil!
THEIR DESIGNER. “Their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands” (v.4) If we have new forms of energy then we can become energy independent. If we print money and pump the prime of the economy with a stimulus package we will have financial prosperity. If we invest more in education we will become so enlightened as to lift ourselves out of our problems. If everybody does their fair share then everyone will have everything they want. We look to the diplomat, the bureaucrat, the technocrat, ad nauseam. It is idolatry!
THEIR DEADLINESS. “Those who make them are just like them, as are all who trust in them.” (v.8) A mouth that doesn’t speak, eyes that can’t see, ears without hearing, a nose that can’t smell, hands without feeling and feet without walking—that’s an idolatrous image. There is no help there! But, it is worse. Not only are the works of men’s hands impotent to bring hope and change, there is a deadening effect. We become like the object of our worship! If we worship the Living God, then we are alive. His holy character begins to be reflected from us. But, we if worship a lifeless image, we become dead—unthinking, blind, helpless.
WE MUST TRUST THE HEALER.
He will bless the house of Aaron; He will bless those who fear the Lord—small and great alike. May the Lord add to [your numbers], both yours and your children's. May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. The heavens are the Lord's, but the earth He has given to the human race. It is not the dead who praise the Lord, nor any of those descending into the silence [of death]. But we will praise the Lord, both now and forever. Hallelujah!” (v.9-18)
Three times we are exhorted to “trust in the Lord!” He is our hope. He can bring the change we can believe in—and only He can. But, this is conditioned on our trusting Him.
HE WILL PROTECT US. “
HE WILL PROSPER US. “The Lord remembers us and will bless [us]. He will bless the house of
Here’s the deal—we have a stewardship. “The heavens are the Lord's, but the earth He has given to the human race.” (v.16) God has placed in our hands this bountiful nation. There has never been another like it! Now, we can continue to be an accessory to her murder, or we can choose today to place our hope in the Lord and change our ways. When the Constitutional Convention ended, a Mrs. Powel question Ben Franklin, "Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" His reply was, "A republic if you can keep it." When George Washington was inaugurated as our first President, he sounded a similar warning, “The sacred fire of liberty…has been entrusted to the hands of the American people.” What sort of person is required to keep such a fire kindled? Another one of our Founding Fathers, John Adams, observed, “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
With what has been placed in our hands, we can spend and spend, borrow and borrow, take and take—until it is all gone. We can cling to our idols, and perish with them. Or, we can take what has been placed in our hands—lift it up to God and ask Him to bless it and prosper it for His glory and the publishing of His name to the ends of the earth! There is real hope—if there is true change!