In God I Trust - Man as Chaplain

Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me;
 my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? - Psalm 56:1-4 ESV
In the War of 1812’s most climatic battle, the British, fresh off of burning Washington, DC, set their sights on taking Baltimore. The primary tactic was the naval bombardment of Fort McHenry to facilitate their invasion. A Maryland lawyer named Francis Scott Key witnessed the “rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air” and was encouraged by the fact that the American “flag was still there,” enduring the onslaught of the British bombardment. This inspired Key to write the “Star-Spangled Banner,” a poem that would become our national anthem.
Many Americans don’t know the fourth verse, which reads almost like a prayer:
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Some say our national motto, “In God We Trust,” came from this song. It undoubtedly served as inspiration. But where did Francis Scott Key get that thought? I believe he got it from the psalms, like the one cited above. Key led his family in daily Bible study and prayer, served as a vestryman in his church in Georgetown, Maryland, and also taught a Bible class of young men for many years. Key even considered becoming a minister. Consequently, it would not be surprising if the psalms of David, maybe even Psalm 56, served as inspiration for Key when he wrote that line about our motto: “In God is our trust.”
David was a man who put his trust in God. On the run from King Saul, he reflected in Psalm 56 about his time behind enemy lines, seeking refuge in Gath (1 Samuel 21:10-15). He was alone, desperate, and afraid. To escape the Philistines, he even feigned madness. Even though his next steps were unsure, he was sure of his God. David wholly trusted God—His word and His promise that one day David would become Israel’s king. Yet, David didn’t take that promise for granted. He continued to cry out to God for help and deliverance from his foes, which is something I can certainly relate to from my time in the military.
Men, when you get in a tight spot, do those around you see you turn to the Lord for help? Do you say with David: “in God I trust”? Overcome your human instinct to find your own way out of difficult or dangerous situations and make your reliance on God the first place you turn, not the last. In our role as the chaplain, priest, and spiritual leader in the home, our trust in God needs to be so contagious that it becomes our household’s settled attitude and position as well. Lead in such a way that your trust in God is so compelling and winsome that others also put their trust in God.

  • Do you make your faith known to your family? Do you verbalize it? Do you relate it to a specific circumstance or difficulty like David did in this psalm? Do they hear you say with David: “In God I trust”?
  • In our early days as a nation, when our survival was in question, many Americans confessed with David: “In God we trust.” Fewer and fewer would say that today. What do you think it would take to get us back to that place trusting God?
  • Ask God to help you verbalize your trust in God before those you lead so they can learn to trust Him like you do.