Psalm 49

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Wise words.

Joy is a companion of contentment. When we look around and only see what we are missing instead of what we have, joy disappears. Fear – that we won’t have enough – and discontent – that what we have isn’t good enough – move in.

The root of joy and contentment is where we place our trust.

Psalm 49 describes the foolishness of trusting in wealth and possessions.

The psalmist speaks wise words, reminding us that all men meet a common end: all men die. The wealth that they have accumulated is left to others. And even great riches cannot redeem a man’s life, or secure a place with God in eternity.

What is the fate of those who trust in their wealth and who trust in themselves?

Like sheep they are destined for the grave,
and death will feed on them.
The upright will rule over them in the morning;
their forms will decay in the grave,
far from their princely mansions. (v. 14)

In contrast, those who trust in God for salvation will be redeemed and enjoy His presence forever.

But God will redeem my life from the grave;
he will surely take me to himself. (v. 15)

The psalmist asks an important question that we can ask ourselves:

Why should I fear when evil days come? (v. 5a)

Difficult times reveal where our trust lies. When our trust is in God, we have nothing to fear. No accumulation of possessions or lack of wealth can impact our eternity. When we trust God for salvation, and not ourselves, we are secure.

The psalmist closes with a reminder to stop comparing ourselves to those who have worldly wealth.

Do not be overawed when a man grows rich,
when the splendor of his house increases;
for he will take nothing with him when he dies,
his splendor will not descend with him.
Though while he lived he counted himself blessed –
and men praise you when you prosper –
he will join the generation of his fathers,
who will never see the light of life. (v. 16-19)

And to those who do have worldly wealth, the psalmist reminds them of the importance of understanding that riches cannot buy eternal salvation.

A man who has riches without understanding
is like the beasts that perish. (v. 20)

Trust in God, not yourself or your possessions.
See beyond. Live with an eternal perspective.
Give thanks to God for paying the price you could never pay for redemption and salvation.

Contentment and joy will follow.

Why should you fear when evil days come?

Father, it is tempting to think that the wealthy have it easy. Help me to have an eternal perspective, to remember that wealth is for this life only and that Your presence is the greatest treasure. I choose to place my trust in You. Thank You for paying my redemption price on the cross so that I can spend eternity with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 49

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