Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose hope is in the LORD their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them - he remains faithful for ever. (Psalm 146:3-5, NIV)
So Donald Trump is to be the next president of the USA. Let us hope that he soon gets the hang of such a difficult job. And let us pray that he discharges his duties with truthfulness, fairness and wisdom - and shows a right respect for all people.
When an election leads to regime change, as this one has, or Obama’s did in 2008, or as happened in the UK general elections in 1979, 1997 or 2010, the incoming leader is often greeted with almost messianic expectations. Mr Trump is no exception, though opinion is strongly polarised. His supporters act as if he is the absolute answer to everything.
They will be disappointed - as President Obama’s have inevitably been. That is not a negative comment on Mr Obama’s legacy; it is just to recognise his human limitations.
The writer of Psalm 146, quoted above, counsels us not to put our trust in princes, because they are mortal. So are our politicians; indeed, long before they die they have normally had to leave office anyway. This is not to be cynical about those in leadership, because clearly they can make a big difference. It is just to recognise their limits.
Instead, we are to put our hope in the LORD - the God of the Bible. He is immortal, and the mighty Creator of all. He always keeps His promises.
There is a lesson here for the churches. Some American churches have put too much hope in political leaders, blending the gospel with right-wing politics, so that being against climate change, market regulation and gun control become almost gospel issues (despite the absolute lack of biblical foundation). Here in the UK some churches have bought in to the secular liberal agenda. In both cases, too much trust is being placed in princes.
Instead, we are to put our hope in the Lord. Engagement in the political process is our responsibility as citizens, and we should be involved. But Christians, and churches, should lean on the Lord. One application of that is to keep resolutely to his agenda, which is to change the world one person at a time, a work which lasts for ever. Another is to keep trusting in his sovereignty, whatever the turbulence of the political process.
With such a Lord as we have, we can be gloriously independent!