Riches and Wisdom
Lord, as I prepare to worship You, I long to invest my whole treasure in the treasure You are.
Read Psalm 49
 For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm. Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world,  both low and high, rich and poor alike:  My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.  I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle:  Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me-  those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches?  No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them-  the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough-  so that they should live on forever and not see decay.  For all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, leaving their wealth to others.  Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves.  People, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish.  This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings.  They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning). Their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions.  But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself.  Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases;  for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them.  Though while they live they count themselves blessed- and people praise you when you prosper-  they will join those who have gone before them, who will never again see the light of life.  People who have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is the focus of the Psalm?
This unusual psalm – identified as a proverb and a riddle in verse 4 – doesn’t feel much like a song; it seems to belong more in Proverbs or Ecclesiastes than in the Psalms. Addressed not to God but to people, it challenges us all, both rich and poor, to reflect upon our relationship with money, and asks where we are placing our trust (Matthew 6:19–24). The rich are reminded that their destiny is still a tomb, however much land has been named after them and however grand their mansions may be (11,14). Regardless of how much livestock the rich might own, their fate is still that of the “beasts that perish” (12,20). Wealth has nothing to say when it comes to death. Our only hope lies in the Lord, for no amount great enough can be paid to ransom a human life (7–9). That makes human wealth finally useless (10). Righteousness can save from death, and righteousness in found in Christ alone. In a prophecy that looks forward to Jesus, we’re told that only God can redeem our lives from the grave (15).
Give thanks for the ransom that has been paid on your behalf by Jesus (Mark 10:45).
Lord, reveal to me if money has any hold on my heart and life, and set me free.
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