Read: Psalm 146:2-3
3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. 4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.
In January 1986 I was a Senior at Albion College. The TV was on in the living room of our co-op and I paused to watch the Space Shuttle Challenger take off for space. 73 seconds into its flight there was an explosion. Later we learned that there was an O-ring failure fuel leak. It was a shocking scene and our whole nation paused in deep and stunning sadness. The pride of NASA had failed and we lost remarkable and talented citizens, including the first teacher in space, Christy McAuliffe.
The next week I attended a special presentation on campus by a Pentagon official explaining and promoting President Reagan’s proposed SDI or “Star Wars” missile defense system. The Cold War was on, and a “missile shield” was being advocated that would use missiles in outer space to shoot down attacking missiles on Earth. The expensive system had many skeptics, who said the technology was unproven and was like trying to protect yourself from a bullet by shooting a bullet at the incoming bullet to stop it. The Pentagon official was called back to Washington D.C. last minute and a lower level official made the presentation. He gave a brief introduction and then showed a video advocating the great promise and hope of “Star Wars”. The video gave the basics about SDI and then asked, “And how will such a system be deployed in outer space? We now have a technologically advanced, reliable, re-useable “pickup truck to space”, and it showed the Space Shuttle taking off from a launching pad. There was an audible gasp in the auditorium. The replacement Pentagon official hadn’t had time to preview the video and wasn’t prepared and updated in his presentation. Our nation was being asked to put its faith and trust in technology, known to be fallible.
The Bible warns us many times about misplaced faith. We cannot put our faith in the spear, or shield, or chariot, or mighty horse. We cannot put our faith in the strength of city walls to keep out the enemy. We cannot put our faith in “princes”, for they too are fallible and will let us down. We dare not put our faith in created idols, like the “golden calf” or even in the “ark of the covenant” that was from God, but used profanely in war and was defeated and captured. Our faith is only in God.
Shalom, Pastor Rob