Our reading started today with the following proclamation:
God is our refuge and strength,Psalm 46:1 NIV
an ever-present help in trouble.
The reading for today seems to focus around this theme. It is God who helps us. It is God who provides for us. It is God who reigns. It is God who is worthy of praise. It is God who saves. And Psalm 49 is a clear reminder that we cannot save ourselves.
When we moved here to Snyder several years ago, we got rid of many things we determined we no longer needed. We didn’t have room to move everything out here, so we sold, or gave away a great amount of stuff. Since we have moved here there have been boxes full of things in my storage building that have yet to be opened. It seems I didn’t even need all the things we moved out here!
We’re in a season of purging, asking ourselves if we really need the things we have. Do I really need all the clothes I have, or can I sell/donate most of them and just keep a few outfits for all occasions? Do I really need to pay for a streaming service when I rarely sit to watch TV? Do I really even need a TV? Does our joy and sense of identity really depend on a bunch of stuff sitting in our house, or is it found elsewhere?
I think these are the things the psalmist wants us to reflect upon in Psalm 49. The words are spoken for both rich and poor because both of us face the same reality:
People, despite their wealth, do not endure;Psalm 49:12-13 NIV
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.
Now if those last two verses don’t speak to our culture, I don’t know what will. We get so excited and focused on people we don’t even know, wanting to “follow” them on social media. We pay a lot of attention to people, and things that really don’t matter. The end result of this all is death and decay. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “What am I living for?”
Do not be overawed when others grow rich,Psalm 49:16-17 NIV
when the splendor of their houses increases;
for they will take nothing with them when they die,
their splendor will not descend with them.
As we approach a time of worship tomorrow morning, focus on what really matters. Not on my stuff. Not on my schedule. Not on my wishes and desires. Not on my job.
What really matters is my relationship with the only one who can conquer death.
But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead;Psalm 49:15 NIV
He will surely take me to himself.
If you can’t truly say verse 15 about your present relationship with God, then that’s where your focus needs to be. Because in the end, nothing else matters.