In whom or what do people living in the 21st century put their trust? Regardless of the country, culture, or race of people involved, generally speaking the answers are the same worldwide.
Some trust in the arm of human flesh. The old spiritual song says, “The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.” Yet, that is the choice that a bunch of folks make. First, there are those who trust in themselves. These are arrogant, thinking that they can manage their own affairs, take care of themselves, and get along just fine without God. The Bible has something to say about those who trust in their own thinking and power: “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool . . .” (Proverbs 28:26).
Others confidently place their trust in someone other than themselves. In the days of the prophet Isaiah, the Assyrian Empire was a great force in the Middle East. In order to try and protect themselves from the powerful arm of that nation, the children of Israel ran down to Egypt “to trust in the shadow of Egypt” (Isaiah 30:2,3). Jehovah rebuked them for such faithless action. They could have chosen to trust in Him. Instead, they chose to trust in the arm of flesh, meaning that they thought mere humans had more to offer than the Almighty. How unwise.
We also come across those who trust in their material possessions. They swell with pride as they show off their latest purchases and seem obsessed in talking about the quantity of stuff that they own. We are reminded of a rich farmer who was convinced that his material blessings could guarantee his future existence and happiness. God labeled the fellow as a “fool” (Luke 12:19,20). It was in that setting that the Master proclaimed that “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (12:15). “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7). Substitute “cars, computers, and land investments” into the above verse in the place of “chariots” and “horses” and you have an accurate picture of the masses in the modern world.
When it comes to trusting in the temporary, corruptible items of this life, a vast number of people trust specifically in their money. When the fall of Judah to the Babylonians was imminent, God warned His people with these words: “Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’s wrath” (Zephaniah 1:18). Are we listening? In the New Testament we learn that there were wealthy saints in the first-century church. What did they need to hear? “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17,18). That is clear enough, is it not?
Some trust in their family relationships. The offspring of a king, president, or prime minister may think that they are entitled to the privilege of disregarding the law. They may be lifted up with pride simply because of the blood that flows through their veins connects them to powerful authority figures. In the church, from time to time we observe a similar mindset as some whose fathers serve as an elder, deacon, or preacher apparently think that their father’s role exempts them from following the strict code of holy conduct that is required of every single follower of the Christ (1 Peter 1:14-16).
It is also sad to see people trust in religious lies. “Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these’ . . . Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit” (Jeremiah 7:4,8). Mark it down: false messages are not helpful! False teachers present false messages that lead them and their followers to destruction (2 Peter 2:1,2). We must not put our trust in any human messenger.
What is the only correct answer to the question, “In whom or what should you and I put our trust?” The Lord God. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD” (Jeremiah 17:7). “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). What great advice! We should live our lives in such a way that we can honestly say what the apostle Paul did: “. . . we trust in the living God . . .” (1 Timothy 4:10).
When our family is upset with us because we are putting the Lord first in our lives, we must keep on trusting in Him. When the value of our financial investments has declined sharply, we need to trust in the Lord. When Christians in whom we had great confidence in the past become unfaithful, we have got to put our trust in God. Whatever may be going on in our lives, we need to remember and practice the message of Psalm 62:8: “Trust in Him at all times, you people.”
— Roger D. Campbell
TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God.