Which do you trust? The old saying goes “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. I like that. It gives me the security of having something I know about as opposed to speculation, risk taking on the chance of getting something more and the possibility of losing out on something I want. I would rather get interest in the bank than risk losing money on a risky investment. I would rather get the thing I need at a possibly higher price than waste time and energy shopping from store to store looking for a better price, and possibly losing out on the item entirely. I like good solid security that I can see and feel. But that does not work out all the time in every way. Think about the choice Israel faced when confronted by attacks from the enemy. Time and again the enemy came up to attack, and time and again Israel made a choice between hiring mercenary help and making an alliance with another country, or trusting God to repel the attack. The Old Testament describes how kings of Israel who worshipped false gods chose to make alliances with Egypt or other countries, trusting in their horses and chariots to repel the enemy. Sometimes they won, sometimes they lost. The alliance always cost the kingdom lots of money. The kings who chose to worship God would cry out to God for protection and victory over the enemies. You can read one of these dramas unfolding in 1 Kings 18-20. Rabshakeh, the king of Assyria’s spokesman, challenged Hezekiah, king of Israel. 19 Then Rabshakeh said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, “What is this confidence that you have?...21 Now behold, you rely on the staff of this crushed reed, even on Egypt; on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. Rabshakeh’s intelligence was out of date. Israel had a change of administration, and Hezekiah was now king of Israel, and he trusted God, not idols or alliances with other countries for help. Then Rabshakeh’s intelligence was correct, but he interpreted it wrongly. 22 But if you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God,’ is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’? Hezekiah had destroyed the places of idol worship. He was cutting loose from the evil of the past and turning the nation to worship and trust Jehovah. The false gods would never be able to help Israel but the God of Israel could and did get them out of trouble. Rabshakeh and his army got called away and never came back. What I’m trying to say is that Egypt, with its armies and horses and chariots were the bird in the hand; so were the idols. God was the two birds in the bush. Israel could see and talk face to face with the Egyptians. They had to take God's presence and help on faith because they could not see or smell or touch or audibly hear Him. Psalm 20:7-8 puts all this in a nutshell: 7 Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God. 8 They have bowed down and fallen, But we have risen and stood upright. We don’t exactly have shrines with little statues of metal or wood that we bow down to these days in the western world. But there are a host of false gods running around. I was filled with dread when I heard Scotland’s First Minister say she would trust science to lead her thinking when she talked about how she would decide what Scotland should do during the Coronavirus pandemic. I wondered if this would be true science, or the kind of pseudo-science that drives the green new deal climate change thinking, and the pseudo-science behind the gender fluidity movement and a number of other things. That science is not based on making new discoveries to help people. That science is based on fear mongering and forcing people to toe the line. It’s the same kind of thinking that the Roman Catholic church used back in the Seventeenth Century to try to force Galileo to withdraw and recant his discovery that the sun, not the earth, is at the center of the solar system. Pseudo-science is a false god. But it is a bird in the hand. People can imagine they have some security, some control over the world’s climate with this kind of thinking. And as Psalm 20 says, it will ultimately fail. Jeremiah 17 describes the fate of people who would rather trust the false gods they can see, feel, and that they think they can control. 5 Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord. 6 “For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. That’s a rather stark outlook. But God says that is the fate of the person who trusts in his own wisdom, in things he can see, hear, touch…who trusts in the bird in his hand. But God goes on to describe those who trust in Him. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord. 8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit. Now, which would you rather be? A scrawny bush stuck out in the desert, barely hanging on to life, or a lush, fruitful bush near a never ending supply of nourishment? Do you put your trust in things you think you can control, or do you put your trust in God Who said in Philippians 4: 19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. This is the same God we looked at yesterday, Who does whatever He pleases and nothing can stop Him. Our God does what He does for our good and His glory.