Our Help and Hope
“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.” (Psalm 146:4)
“Trusting something” and “putting your trust in something” are different. I trust my bank, but I don’t put my trust in my bank. I trust my country, but I don’t put my trust in my country. You get the point. Putting your trust in something is a more comprehensive statement about faith and allegiance.
And here’s the reason you should never put your trust in man: they’re going to die.
And when they die, whatever it was you were hoping to gain from them is going to be worth as much as the ground to which their body returns. Whatever plans might have been in motion, those plans are now as stalled as the corpse underground, and they’re not going anywhere.
Such is the straightforward wisdom of Psalm 145:4, put negatively. Don’t trust in man.
But there’s another side, the positive instruction, and it’s spoken not as a command but as a blessing:
Blessed is the man and woman who does this (Psalm 145:5–6). The psalmist expects that the folks reading these words want to be blessed. He doesn’t have to spell out that they must do this, but only explain that this is the pathway to blessing. And the blessing is God himself as your help and hope.
I love those words: help and hope.
Can you imagine a more practical pair?
Help as in today, and hope as in tomorrow — and God is the one who runs both.
God is your help, which means he will get you through today. God is your hope, which means he will always give you a tomorrow.
Just Like Jesus
And if you want proof, just look to Jesus. Look to the cross. God indeed was his help, right to the very end. He didn’t permit the cup to pass, but he also did not abandon his son to Hades (Psalm 16:10). Jesus, marred by sin and absorbing the wrath we deserved, still called to his Father in faith, even in his dying breath, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). God was his help, indeed. And also his hope.
After Jesus’s breath departed he returned to earth, buried like every man, except that this was not just any prince, not merely “a son of man,” but “the Son of Man.”
His plans did not perish, but they were only beginning. “Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11). And so on the third day, in power, Jesus was raised victorious over sin and death. The will of the Lord now prospers in his hand (Isaiah 53:10). Jesus, whose help and hope is God his Father, draws us into that same fellowship. God, our help and hope, is bound up in Jesus, our help and hope, who has gone before us and never leaves us. Blessed is he who trusts in him.