“Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” (Psalms 33:20-22 ESV)
In today’s march* through the Psalms I was struck by the set of verses above.
No matter our context, when we’ve placed our hope in ANY human institution (sadly, this includes many ‘churches’) we are setting ourselves up for frustration, anger and anxiety.
I see these everywhere I go.
It is good and right to seek justice.
It is both our right (in many places) and our responsibility to call out oppression and wrong through peaceful protest.
But this must not be a response to fear or anxiety. If fear or anxiety about circumstances are driving your protest, your hope is misplaced.
Our hope is not in human institutions (governments, religions, etc.).
Consider some earlier verses from the same psalm.
“The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.” Psalms 33:16-17 ESV
A protester is not saved by his clear arguments or number of followers.
Be certain that your protests are founded on a righteous indignation, not on your emotional reaction to what you feel is wrong. Be certain that your protest is rooted not just in your ability to garner Bible verses to support your argument, but rooted in your growing relationship and understanding of the God of those Bible verses.
For: “The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.” (Psalms 33:13-15 ESV)
Protest away my friend, it is your duty!
But have no protest any day with or against any man, until you have had a conversation of significance with God.
When you do this, you can (as a Palestinian pastor counseled) love your enemies (a group that, tragically, seems to be rapidly growing in number).
Empty are are arguments of man, full is the counsel of God.
* I’m reading, praying and journaling a psalm a day as a supplement to riding the M’Cheyne train – check it out: http://bible.com/r/O