For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm. 1 Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world, 2 both low and high, rich and poor alike: 3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding. 4 I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle: 5 Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me— 6 those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches? 7 No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them— 8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough— 9 so that they should live on forever and not see decay. 10 For all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, leaving their wealth to others. 11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. 12 People, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish. 13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. 14 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. 15 But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. 16 Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases; 17 for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them. 18 Though while they live they count themselves blessed— and people praise you when you prosper— 19 they will join those who have gone before them, who will never again see the light of life. 20 People who have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish.
When a psalm starts with ” Hear this, all you peoples; listen all who live in this world”, it makes you sit up and take notice of what the writer is about to convey.
The psalmist goes on to remind us of this truth: whether rich or poor, high or low – you cannot redeem yourself from death. No amount of power or wealth in this life can save you.
Recently I went for a walk with friends around a beautiful area of Sydney which boasts grand houses overlooking the harbour. While it is lovely to look at the extravagant houses and harbour views, it is tempting to look at the wealthy and feel envious of something that you will likely never have in this life. However, if earthly wealth is all that you have, it is fleeting and futile indeed.
It’s good to be reminded in this psalm of the transient nature of earthly riches, and the true, eternal riches that God offers through our redemption both now and into eternity. How grateful I am for God’s grace and salvation through Jesus, and for the home that awaits me in heaven with Him.
“But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave”
Written by Shelley Witt