It’s a presidential election year in the U.S.A. and I can’t help but paraphrase Psalm 20:7 (“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God) as “Some trust in Democrats and some trust in Republicans . . .”
And I can’t help but think of any number of other human institutions that we so easily look to for the solution to our problems: education, medicine, science, technology, etc. The list goes on and on for every generation.
King David, arguably the most successful politician in the Bible, wrote Psalm 20, and he was critical of those who depended on military power. Obviously, 3,000 years later, we can be just as guilty of trusting in our nation’s armed forces rather than the right hand of Almighty God.
I’m not saying anything new here. No doubt you’ve heard it before: anything or anyone can become an idol. My biggest challenge for as long as I can remember is making an idol out of myself. My default mode is to view myself as the best solution to any problem I encounter. From an early age I’ve subscribed to the mantra, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” Such is the prideful human condition.
The antidote to such arrogance is, of course, faith in the living God of the Scriptures – Father, Son and Spirit. The life of faith in the Trinity and the life of faith in humanity are mutually exclusive.
How do we become people who trust God rather than ourselves? I find it most intriguing that David uses the phrase “the name of the LORD our God” in Psalm 20:7. What is the significance of that?
The “name of God” is used throughout Scripture to refer to all that God is – His unapproachable holiness and immeasurable glory. In Psalm 8:1 we read, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You have set your glory above the heavens.” So the “name of God” is synonymous with the glory of God, and this phrase is used interchangeably with the person of God Himself. Hence we are to love His name (Psalm 5:11), praise His name (Psalm 7:11) and trust in His name (Psalm 20:7), just as we are to love Him, praise Him and trust in Him.
How do we trust in Him rather than our self-made idols? One critical step is to increase our knowledge of Him. Note Psalm 9:10 — “Those who know your name will trust in you.” The more we immerse ourselves in the study of God’s attributes, the more our faith in Him will grow. It really can be as simple as that. Spend much quality time in the written Word, meditating on His greatness, letting Scripture fill our minds with big thoughts about our big God, and looking away from ourselves to Him will become our default mode.
May God help us as we seek to cultivate a life of ever-increasing faith in Him.