I’m looking for a few good women or men, people who are more concerned with helping others than promoting themselves. No sense in looking in congress for such persons. If they are there, they are pretty much invisible. These public servants are too busy trying to ensure they are re-elected, doing insider trading, and protecting their perks (retirement and health benefits) while talking about slashing social security and other benefits that help the majority of Americans.
So where do we find these people?
Psalm 146 is the first of the five alleluia psalms that end the Psalter, so titled because each of these psalms begins and ends with “praise the Lord.” It is a fitting way to end this book with repeated, successive words of praise.
This psalm is the individual writer’s thoughts about God’s goodness. The writer praises God, not for God’s glory and majesty, but for his care for the poor and lowly.
He starts by stating how he will praise God all his life: “I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being.” (2) He reminds us not to put our trust in people. Even the most powerful of people perish. “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish.” (3-4)
He then extols the greatness of God: “who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the sojourners, he upholds the widow and the fatherless.” (7-9a)
Unlike humans who pass away, “The Lord will reign for ever.” (10a)
So where do we find people who are more concerned with the welfare of others than their own personal gain? Look to the Lord, those who follow the Lord in deed, not just words. Many claim to love God, yet they behave in ways that break God’s heart.
Shelly Beach, a Christian blogger I follow, wrote recently in her blog, “I want to know God better. Not know about Him. But to know what makes Him smile like I know what makes my husband smile. Or know what breaks God’s heart the way I know what breaks my friend’s heart.” It breaks God’s heart when we treat others in unkind, unjust fashion, when we tromp on others to get our own way.
The psalmist rightly praises God for God’s concern for the hungry, the oppressed, the blind, the widowed and orphaned. God is great and rightly to be praised, but God’s care for his people is even more praiseworthy.
Now if only all who are in leadership positions or seeking such positions, would follow our God’s example.
What are your thoughts on this psalm? How do you grow to know God better? I would love to hear from you.