“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, ‘Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.’ But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’ And Samuel prayed to the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day, in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods, so they are doing to you also.”—–1 Samuel 8:4-9
There is a lot of lip service given by people that say they trust in God. But when it comes to a person’s beliefs, lifestyle, and actions, trust in God ends up being far from the truth. For people, trust in God is more of a crutch or a safety net in life if things get too difficult to navigate alone.
These past few weeks the world waited and watched as a new pope was elected. With so much of the world’s attention placed upon this new man to lead the Catholic Church, it makes you stop and think about the implications of where people put their faith and trust. Even as this Pope Francis was elected and his first few weeks as pope have taken place, it has been amazing to see the sheer joy and tears over this one man.
And not to be outdone, it makes no difference the religion, but many look to fallen man with such great hope and expectation. Whether it be the Dali Lama for the Buddhists, Joseph Smith for the Mormons, Muhammad for the Muslims, or simply pastors for the Protestants, man always ends up getting elevated by the people that follow them. But how can this be when people profess faith and trust in God or their god for that matter??
The same can also be said when it comes to political and governing officials. Whether it be a president, prime minister, king or queen, people end up raising these people to being some type of gods. People look to them as those that will provide a “greater life” and provide for the “common good”. These leaders attract people as they seek to establish a society based upon what they see as “right”. Nevertheless these figures become those that many trust in much more than God and Him alone as their Lord and Savior.
At the heart, the real issue is that people often look to other people who can give great leadership and go before them to pioneer the way and help them make sense of the world. Not only that, but people look for leaders that will inspire and lead with great conviction, passion, and charisma. No one wants to follow someone seemingly out of touch with people and doesn’t have personal allure. However, people do eagerly seek those that give them hope, protect and provide for them, and seek to give them answers to such a messed up world.
Today we are seeing a greater and greater rise of people putting their trust in man. Inter-faith initiatives are increasing exponentially as people seek to find common ground for the whole of our societies and world. God quickly gets replaced or redefined in order to find how to best to care for all people’s “felt needs” and how best to care for the environment despite what a person calls “God” or “god” or even believes about their “God” or “god”. Just as long as you have “love” in your heart and are a “good” person, then we are all on the same team.
The problem with this idea is that it stems from the fact that we each have different thoughts and opinions about what we believe to be true and right. How we define “love” and being “good” also can be drastically different from person to person. Who, then, is to say what is really true or right?? The sad reality is that more and more people put their trust in other fallen men to be the ones to tell them the truth rather than God and His Word.
In the Church, it should be that pastors are merely those that are overseers, teachers, protectors of doctrine contrary to the Bible, and one among the rest of the Body of Christ. And although held to stricter judgment for their leadership and teaching, pastors need Jesus as their Savior just the same as everyone else. It used to be that when churches were in need of a pastor that they would look for a man according to the qualifications laid out in Scripture. Today, many pastors are chosen based solely upon their like-ability, charisma, and how they can garner an audience. A person’s qualifications are often based upon their school degrees and ability in business and the world rather than their faith and obedience to Christ. Nothing about how they may hold to the Truth of God’s Word, but how well they can put together a sermon series and inspire with a good message. Being a pastor is seen more as a job and holding a position of prominence rather than a lifestyle of living and serving the Lord.
So when it comes to who or whom people put their faith and trust, it often ends up looking more like faith and trust in man rather than God. People can say they trust in God, but in reality people end up trusting far more in fallen man. This is not a new concept, but one beginning with Adam and Eve trusting in themselves for right and wrong rather than walking in faith and obedience to God.
A huge problem for us all is that we don’t just end up trusting only in these popular leaders, but far more even in ourselves to know right from wrong. We believe it is within ourselves, apart from God, to know truth. How deceptive to believe we or any other man possesses the truth ourselves!! We must recognize and repent on how our thoughts, opinions, and fleshly desires have led us astray and how we truly haven’t put our complete faith and trust in God alone.
When we come to know our sin of putting our faith and trust in fallen man rather than God, we also begin to see how much we have built many institutions to protect this source of power and control. From such massive governments to denominations or even many of our own church structures, it often puts man on a pedestal and removes God and our need for Him further and further from the picture. Just look back over all of the Bible and all of history how time and time again this has happened. This isn’t to say that all government or church structure is wrong or that some isn’t necessary, but much of what we see today is so far from what God intended and has told us in His Word.
So in the end, we must be careful to examine our beliefs, lifestyle, and actions that we truly put our entire faith and trust in Jesus and Him alone. I think if we are truly honest, we will be surprised how much we trust in ourselves, our leaders, and other fallen men rather than the Lord. May the Lord grant us each forgiveness for how we haven’t trusted in Him as we all should.