...by Chris Tiegreen...
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?
[Psalm 49]Psalm 49 is a wisdom psalm. It instructs us in the ways of God and warns us of the ways of men. It offers us the picture of the futility of human resourcefulness. It reminds us that those who hold power in this would - generally the wealthy - hold no power over the children of God.Why would the psalmist fear when evil days come? Because we live under an illusion that our lives are at the mercy of others - the people we are indebted to, those who govern us, the bureaucracies and massive institutions, and more. You can't fight city hall, and you can't buck the status quo. When powerful people tell us what to do, we must either do it or come up with the funds to go to court. Since that isn't an option for most of us, we're left to swim downwards with the rest of the world. We feel bounds by its ways.The good news of Psalm 49 is that we really are not bound. We are not obliged to fit ourselves into the value systems of money and power. The cliques and clubs of a world gone wrong simply do not matter. They are false categories, figments of the world's imagination. Status - especially status based on possessions - is an ugly illusion. It will be shattered in the end.Why is this a comfort? Because we easily feel discouraged when we view ourselves in the context of a distorted and deceptive world system. It swells with pride in its accomplishments, and we feel left out. But our status is not based on social, economic, or any other system imposed on us. It is based on who we are in Christ. Our value is based on what God has done for us. Our usefulness is based on the Spirit who dwells within us. Our significance is not defines by anything that we can't take with us when we go. Those who trust in such things will be brokenhearted. Those of us who do not can never be shaken.
Theirs is an endless road, a hopeless maze, who seek for good before they seek for God.
~ Bernard of Clairvaux ~