Advent: November 29

Psalm 49:13-19

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 splendour of their houses increases; for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendour 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.

The writer describes those who live for this life alone as dead men walking – death is the only outcome. Whatever riches people who trust in themselves accumulate, their yachts and private jets, their mansions, their power, status and influence, there will come a time when they are no more. They may hand great wealth over to their families, but they themselves will decay. You don’t have to have great wealth to be rich.

We might have views on whether the wealthy deserve their riches, but the poor who trust in themselves alone will also come to a similar end. I do not know the hearts of Bezos, Zuckerberg, Gates and all the other super-rich, or indeed of any other person. That depends on their relationship with Father God. It’s not my business to judge, but to lead people to Jesus.

The psalmist has a different hope, that God will buy him back from the realm of the dead. His hope is sure and certain. When his life ends and he goes off to what he describes as the realm of the dead, he will be bought out and brought out. This seems to foreshadow the redeeming death of Jesus Christ, who in his crucifixion paid the price of all sin. He expects an eternity in the presence of God, paid for by Jesus – everlasting life at Jesus’ expense.

What is the outcome for you when you die?

Do you/How much do you care about your future beyond this life?

Might it be better to fight and struggle for a more equal world?

Father God, I know that my wealth, poor in comparison to some, is also great in relation to the real poor. Teach me that I do not need to trust in my own abilities, but in yours to uphold and sustain me. Amen.

Why should I fear