“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 27:10, ESV).
Psalm 20 is a Psalm about trust. As the King faces trouble—likely an upcoming war with another nation—the question that confronts him (and us) is, “where should I place my hope, confidence, and trust?” Of course, David recognizes that there are various options—he could place his hope in chariots and horses (i.e. his own abilities, possessions, etc.) or he could place his hope in the LORD. Of course, David’s confidence and trust is with the LORD, but this isn’t true for everyone. When faced with the choice between trusting God or trusting something else, we often turn away from God and turn to other things.
Many of the armies of the surrounding nations placed their hope of victory in the fact that they were armed and skilled in war. In Judges 4 we are told that when Sisera came against Israel he was armed with 900 chariots of iron. In 2 Kings 19, Sennacherib king of Assyria, boasted of his previous victories saying:
Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done in all the lands, devoting them to destruction….Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?
These kings placed their hope in themselves—their chariots, their victories, their abilities. Do you ever find yourself living like these kings by placing your hope and trust in yourself or in some source besides the LORD?
When it comes to your financial stability, where do you place your trust? Is your boast in the fact that you are a highly skilled worker? Is your confidence in the fact that you have a large savings account? Some trust in skills, and some in savings. When it comes to your standing before the LORD, where do you place your trust? Is your boast in the fact that you do a lot of good deeds? Is your confidence in the fact that you don’t look like “all those sinners”? Some trust in works, and some in appearances.
I’m sure that we could think of many other examples of times when we are tempted to place our trust in sources other than the LORD. Yet, as David reminds us, a proper trust in found only in the LORD:
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
There are a few things that we should notice about this verse. First, to trust in the name of the LORD our God means that we must not place confidence in any other source. There is no neutrality here. Either we will be fully devoted to trusting God or we will be devoted to placing our confidence elsewhere. Second, notice that this trust is founded on a relationship. David says that “we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” In reality, without a relationship with God, we will continue to trust in chariots and horses. But if we know God—His character, His words, His deeds—then we will desire to trust Him.
Let’s return back to two stories that we reference earlier in order to see some examples of those who placed their trust in the LORD. In Judges 4, although Sisera had placed his trust in his 900 chariots of iron, Deborah and Barak’s confidence was in the LORD:
Up! For this is the day in which the LORD has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the LORD go out before you?
Likewise, 2 Kings 19, although Sennacharib’s trust was in his past victories, Hezekiah demonstrated that his trust was in the LORD:
Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O LORD our God, please save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.
Like others who have walked in faith and trust, God desires for you and I to wholeheartedly trust in Him. But, what does it look like when we place our hope in the LORD? How should this play out in our daily lives? Let’s return to the examples we mentioned earlier.
When it comes to financial stability, some trust in skills, and others in savings but we should trust in the God who promises to provide. Consider Philippians 4:19:
My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
When it comes to our standing before God, some trust in works, and some in appearances, but we should trust in the God who accomplished our salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Consider Ephesians 2:4-5:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.
The issue of who we will trust is a question that you and I will face on a regular basis. Sometimes this question will arise in the midst of huge events/crisis, but it will also be present during the mundane moments of life. And when we are faced with the choice of trusting in God or something else, let us chose to place our trust in the name of the LORD our God.