A reflection on Psalm 146

Psalm 146

1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortals, in whom there is no help.
4 When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
on that very day their plans perish.
5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith for ever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The Lord will reign for ever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

After focusing people’s minds on God, the psalmist proceeds to tell his listeners of the foolishness of putting our faith in humanity alone, because humanity ultimately perishes, fades away, and our hopes and plans with them. If we only trust in humanity, then all our plans will come to nothing. Rather we need to trust in the one who will never fail, who will never fade away.

‘5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith for ever;’

It is in God only whom we should trust. The creator of all, who is faithful forever. Only the plans entrusted to God will last and be fruitful. The God who created us, who cares for us, the God

‘7 who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,’

In the age of celebrity this is an important message. This psalm tells us of the fallacy of seeking after the rich and popular. We stand on rocky ground if its our celebrities we put our trust and admiration. Yes they are entertaining to watch, and many wish to follow their ways, the way the dress and eat, the things they buy, but they will one day die and those things we have built up will fall and fade with them. And then what is left?

‘3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortals, in whom there is no help.’

No help, no life, no joy, no strength. All will tumble down to nothing.

Those things, those people that the Lord cares about may not seem as glamorous or exciting. There is little money or fame in caring for those oppressed, sick or hungry, but they are the things that matter. The Lord does not ask us to build up wealth and acquire possessions. He does not ask us to seek fame and recognition. He wants us to join him in caring for others. As it says in Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,”

Let this be our prayer, Praise the Lord!

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sallyjjones

Minor Canon Youth Chaplain at St Albans Cathedral. Dog owner, historian, technology geek, pilgrim.

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