Do Not Put Your Trust In Princes

Day 179

2 Kings 13:1-14:29; Acts 18:23-19:12; Psalm 146:1-10; Proverbs 18: 2-3

Do Not Put Your Trust In Princes

Psalm 146 has really struck a chord for me. How easy it is for us to put too much trust in other people. We do it through love and admiration most of the time and maybe through intimidation on occasion.

The psalmist warns us that mortal man is not a substitute for the Savior. Verses 3 and 4 really spell it out for us, “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.”

I’m sure we have all, at one time or another, put our trust in another mortal — parent, sibling, national figure, or just another well-meaning person. Now, trust in God. Man cannot offer salvation or eternal life.

I recall a time in my life while I was serving on a vestry (prior to my ordination). Our rector announced he was taking another call and would be leaving our parish. Years before, I had gone through a very depressing time in my life, and this priest helped pull me out of my depression and became a source of spiritual strength for me. When he announced his leaving, I was devastated. Where would I find my spiritual strength now that he was going to leave? I ultimately realized I was looking in the wrong direction for spiritual strength when a voice in my head said to me, “Put your trust in me, not in mortal man.”

The Rev. Ed Bartle
Mt Dora, FL

God Is Working His Purpose Out

Day 178

2 Kings 10:32‐12:21; Acts 18:1‐22; Psalm 145:1‐21; Proverb 18:1

God Is Working His Purpose Out

The hymn “God Is Working His Purpose Out” is one of my favorite hymns. It speaks of the ebb and flow of time, energy, people, and the mission of God. In many ways, this hymn summarizes our texts.

Second Kings speaks of a succession of rulers of Israel and some of Judah. Some of those rulers are good, obedient messengers of God who do His bidding, execute His judgments, and perform the ministrations set before them. Whether they are executing holy wars, collecting offerings and sacrifices, anointing kings, or repairing the Temple, each person seems assigned a task or duty. If done well, they are exalted and blessed by God, and if not… Well, there are no brownie points handed out!

Paul likewise encounters friend and foe, blessing and curse as he ministers in Corinth and in surrounding Achaia. He at times has great response to his preaching of the Risen Christ, and of course there are times when the word falls on deaf ears, and there is little or no response. Such is the “rhythm” of life. Paul seemingly has his fill of preaching to the Jews and shifts to a fully Gentile sharing of the Gospel. We hear of his tentmaking skills and even learn about a haircut!

The Psalm likewise sets things into a carefully anticipated unfolding of the plan and purpose of God. Our works and God’s work are blended together into a rich harmony that anticipates the unfolding of the next step in God’s plan. Let us all look forward to the fullness of time, “when the earth shall be filled with the Glory of God as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).

The Rev. Scott T. Holcombe
St. David’s by the Sea Episcopal Church

Silence Is Golden

Day 177

2 Kings 9:14‐10:31; Acts 17:1‐34; Psalm 144:1‐15; Proverbs 17:27‐28

Silence Is Golden

“A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent and discerning if he holds his tongue.” – Proverbs 17:27-28

What powerful words are these two short verses from the Proverbs. They show us just how true are those famous words, “Silence is golden.” There is much wisdom in not saying anything if you don’t have something meaningful to add to the conversation or if the words that come out of your mouth are inappropriate to the discussion.

How many times in our lives do we open our mouths and insert our foot? The apostle Peter was great at it. Hindsight is 20/20 and many times helps us see the folly of our misspoken words. But how much more intelligent we appear if we just don’t say anything? Also, when we keep silence it allows us to listen to what others are saying. This takes practice, and the Holy Spirit helps those who feel that they must say something rather than remain quiet.

Lord, help us today to listen more than we speak. Help us to hear your voice on the lips of those we encounter. When we do talk, may our words be of you and not of ourselves.

Phyllis Bartle
St. Jude’s Episcopal Church
Orange City, FL