I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land.
-- Judges 6:9
Here's one for you history buffs and Trivial Pursuit champions:
What's the official motto of the United States?
Stumped? Chances are that you'll find the answer in your wallet or between your sofa cushions. For more than 140 years, American coins--and later paper money--have featured the inscription In God We Trust. The U.S. Treasury's website reveals that in 1861 a Pennsylvania minister recommended to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase that the nation's coins "recognize Almighty God in some form." Chase agreed and instructed the director of the Philadelphia Mint to prepare an appropriate motto.
"No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense," wrote Chase. "The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins."
In God We Trust made its first appearance on the two-cent coin in 1864. How ironic that "Godless" money should declare such an important reminder about the real source of our security. But if we're really honest with ourselves, shouldn't the motto read In GOLD We Trust? After all, when life get tough, it's only natural to depend on paychecks, investments and possessions rather than the One who enables us to make a living. But reliance on our career and the stock market is never wise, particularly in these days of economic, social and political upheaval.
It's an unsettling fact: our bank account is no defense against life's hard realities. Illnesses strike, relationships fail and that which once seemed solid turns to dust in our hands. What we desperately need is something--or Someone--who's utterly dependable, unchangeable and trustworthy.
Jesus paints a vivid picture of this universal quest through his story about a foolish man who built his house on shifting sands. When the storm struck, the rains came and the winds blew with fury. It's no surprise that the flimsy structure collapsed. But a wise man, in comparison, built his house on a foundation of solid rock. So when the winds howled and the storm clouds boiled overhead, that house withstood even the heaviest downpour.
This leads us to an obvious question: Are we counting on our money to save us when life happens? If so, let's switch our confidence to God: the One who knew everything about us before we were even born.
"Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust," we read in Psalms, "who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods."It's an eternal truth that we can take to the bank!