Can We Trust Politicians?

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.  When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.  Psalm 146:3–5

Throughout Scripture we are reminded that God is sovereign over all things, including  political affairs (Daniel 2:21, Romans 13:1-7); not just domestic but international (Acts 17:26-27). God raises up leaders and takes them down. In other words, whatever the election results, God is in control. 

Psalm 146 is especially relevant as the political fervor increases after another election.

Just as the people of Israel were tempted to put their trust in the king’s sons, the next generation of leaders – the “princes” – so we are tempted to place too much hope in presidents, senators and congressional leaders. We are reminded by these verses, however, that human beings by themselves cannot save.  

Throughout history there have been a wide array of political and social leaders in this country and planet. History tells us that politicians can provide leadership that helps ease pain for the suffering, improve order in chaos, bring justice to the marginalized and provide security for the vulnerable. 

Eugène Siberdt – The Prophet Nathan rebukes King David

But even when our politicians walk in integrity, they likely cannot live up to all of our expectations. They do not possess all wisdom, power, and benevolence. Our political leaders will make mistakes, their plans will be frustrated by political opposition, as well as the changing tide of popular opinion. Their hearts will be tempted by pride and the power entrusted to them. Thus the caution in Psalm 146:3: Do not put your trust in princes, but rather, hope in the Lord.”  

God is the “maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them, who remains faithful forever…upholds the cause of the oppressed…gives food to the hungry… sets prisoners free … gives sight to the blind … lifts up those who are bowed down … loves the righteous … watches over the foreigner … sustains the fatherless and the widow, but frustrates the way of the wicked” (Psalm 146:6-9). 

Centuries before November 3 God established an eternal ruler in the person of Jesus Christ. In Isaiah’s words:

“He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Stay engaged with politics and be aware of political developments. Be informed with facts, not just political opinion. Pray daily for our elected officials, as they are incurably human. Hold them accountable, as they are charged with great responsibility. But do not be lured into placing too much hope in a political system, by embracing a political agenda that eclipses the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  

About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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1 Response to Can We Trust Politicians?

  1. Sharon Worthington says:

    Pastor Corey- I wish God would step in and solve this mess sooner than later. I don’t and can’t trust government people and I want to. They lie- they have a self serving agenda and we the people of this country let them by with it. When the President gives speeches filled with curse words and ignorant demeaning statements I just grinch in disgust. U can’t believe what u read or what u see.. I try to believe God will intervene but I also know the Devil is trying very hard to destroy this earth right now!

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