“Nothing can be more certain than that our country was founded in a spiritual atmosphere and with a firm trust in God” (https://history.house.gov/HistoricalHighlight/Detail/36275, accessed 12/1/22). These words were pronounced by Florida Representative Charles Bennett in 1955 on the House Floor as he proposed a bill that would require the words In God We Trust to be inscribed on all U.S. currencies. The bill was eventually signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 11, 1955. While In God We Trust had previously appeared on coins since after the Civil War, Bennett’s legislation codified the inscription on U.S. currency and led to a later act of Congress making the phrase In God We Trust the national motto of the United States of America.
While the exact phrasing of In God We Trust does not appear in the Bible, there are many passages that exhort readers to trust in the Lord. Solomon instructs his readers to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Isaiah records a song that includes the encouragement to “trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord we have an everlasting Rock” (Isaiah 26:4, NASB). David adds that people should “offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and trust in the Lord” (Psalm 4:5, NASB). There are many similar instances in Scripture challenging people to trust in the Lord.
We also discover instances in the Bible where people epitomized the saying In God We Trust. Jesus trusted His Father (Hebrews 2:13). Daniel trusted in God and was delivered from the lions’ den (Daniel 6:23). Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, also trusted in God, and He delivered them from the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:28). David wrote that God doesn’t forsake those who have trusted in Him (Psalm 9:10).
On the other hand, there are numerous biblical warnings against trusting in anyone but God. Job explained that trusting in wealth is an iniquity tantamount to denying God (Job 31:24–28). Solomon cautions that the one trusting his own heart is a fool (Proverbs 28:26). Jeremiah records God’s warning against trusting in humanity: the one who trusts in “flesh” is like a bush in the desert, while the one who trusts in the Lord will be like a tree planted by water (Jeremiah 17:5–8).
In saying that people should trust Him, God is not saying that people should not trust each other. In fact, the kind of love He expects us to show “believes all things” and “hopes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7, ESV). The warning is about trusting in humanity rather than trusting in God. The problem is that the heart is deceitful and sick, and the only one who understands the depths of that depravity is God (Jeremiah 17:9). He is the only One who is worthy of our full trust. If we trust in God—like the people of old who could say, “In God we trust”—we will not be disappointed (Psalm 22:5).