Read | Psalm 49

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.

Respond | Ian Graham

Psalm 49 gives no quarter to the delusion of self-sufficiency (vv.13-14). It’s observations are honest and straightforward: everyone—rich and poor, wise and fool—dies (v. 10). In the midst of this bleak outlook, there is truly only one hope: for God to redeem from the realm of the dead (v. 15a). This moment has called into question so many of the things that we look to for security. But God doesn’t just expose our misplaced security in order to leave us in despair. He reveals our idols and poorly laid foundations, but even more, he reveals himself. Not only does Psalm 49 tell us that God reveals from the realm of the dead but that he “takes us unto himself” (v. 15b).

Practice:  Where is God calling you to relinquish control? Where has your security been shaken? Write down one thing and when that comes to your mind over the next couple of days, pray simply: Lord I trust you.