Words of Wisdom
Lord, my Lord, how good and generous You are! I praise You for all that You give me each day.
Read Psalm 49:1-20
 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 are the contrasting "fates" given here?
Unusually, here the psalmist is preaching rather than praying or praising. And the message is for all the people in the world, rich and poor alike (2). He knows that he has no need to fear the wicked and the wealthy (5,6), because only God can redeem his life (15). Words such as redeem and ransom (7,8) echo our Isaiah readings and point us forward to Jesus. It’s all part of the same big picture. The psalmist encourages his readers not to be overawed by riches (16) because they are only temporary. People who are wealthy and successful in this life will not take their riches with them (17). Of course, some people can have wealth and still serve God. The important thing is not how much they have, but what they do with it. In today’s materialistic society we can be impressed by and envious of riches, especially if we are struggling. Television programs broadcast get-rich-quick schemes, and show us fantastic homes and vacation destinations. But wonderful though these things may be, none of them have any permanence. Back to v. 15: it is only God who can save us.
This week make a plan and a positive effort to share what you have with someone who is less fortunate.
Lord Jesus, You gave so very much for me. Grow in me the same generous, sharing spirit, I pray.
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