July 31

Psalm 49:1-12

“Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me, those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches?” vss. 5-6

The psalmist was not impressed with those who flexed muscles and boasted about their riches. He considered them his persecutors and knew that they had accumulated their wealth at the expense of the lowly. In his eyes they were no better than fools…their position could not be sustained and one day they would end up in the grave like everyone else. All that they had would be taken away and in the hands of others. Times have not not changed. In fact, where once the rich were inclined to secrecy about their net worth, in our day the powerful flaunt their wealth and brag about their abundance. Some of them brand their possessions with their names, perhaps hoping in that way to achieve some degree of immortality. They’re like children in a playground vying for attention…often their methods are like those of petty bullies. And it’s all foolishness. Within a few short years they’ll be forgotten. The psalmist says that such persons are not to be envied. He points to fearless living, gladly embracing the benefits of creation while not seeking to possess them. It’s a tough balance, but those who have learned to live simply know what he means. The pleasures of life are fleeting for all people, rich and poor, but true joy comes only when we can escape the bondage of “stuff.”

Thought for the Day: How do possessions enslave us?

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