3) Don’t trust leaders;
don’t trust any human beings—
there’s no saving help with them!
4) Their breath leaves them,
then they go back to the ground.
On that very same day, their plans die too.
It is impossible for us to have a healthy and secure life without trusting someone.
Parents need for their children to trust them if they are to protect them. A healthy marriage demands that spouses trust one another. We need to trust our doctor if he or she is going to help us. We need to trust financial advisors, teachers, mentors, and the list goes on. What could the Psalmist mean by saying, "don't trust any human beings?"
The relationships of child and parent and the relationships of spouses are not without their moments when trust is betrayed if not broken. Those are tough times because we count on a fundamental trust of primary persons in our lives to be able to have a relationship in the first place. We are certain to disappoint or to be disappointed. I have met persons who cannot get beyond an instance of betrayal or broken trust and lock up their heart promising themselves to never trust again. That is tragic and leads to cynicism or, worse, bitterness. "Who hurt you?" we ask. For the person, whose heart is inside a fortress, there was a traumatic injury of trust.
Yet, I can never advise, as does the Psalmist, to never trust again. Without forgiveness there can be no healing. Without risking trust, the relationship cannot be mended. I can understand when the hurt and pain are too deep and the fear to trust again is too great, that it is beyond us. But such healing is not beyond God. God's Holy Spirit can comfort us, and God's unconditional love is given to remind us that God's love never fails. As Paul says in Romans 8:38, "I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers39 or height or depth, or any other thing that is created." What a sweeping testimony to the endless and unconditional love of God. We have all faltered in our relationship with God and betrayed God's love for us. God forgives us and in God's forgiveness is the power to trust and heal.
What the Psalmist must intend by his counsel is to not put ultimate trust in human beings.
I think this is wise advice. His reason is sound. All human beings are mortal. They are also fallible. The only trustworthy one is the one who is infallible and unconditionally loves us.
As the Psalmist says in the rest of #146, "The person whose help is the God of Jacob—
the person whose hope rests on the Lord their God—is truly happy!
The Psalmist is telling us that God is the one we are to ultimately trust.