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Reading:                                          Psalm 49

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

(Verses 1-12)

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?

No one can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for them—

the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—

so that they should live on forever and not see decay.
For all can see that the wise die,
that the foolish and the senseless also perish,
leaving their wealth to others.
Their tombs will remain their houses forever,
their dwellings for endless generations,
though they had named lands after themselves.

People, despite their wealth, do not endure;
they are like the beasts that perish
(NIV).

Reflection

This opening portion of Psalm 49 reminds me of that old maxim: There are only two certainties in this life: death and taxes. The same fate awaits us all; no one is spared. The Grim Reaper cuts down all without exception. The psalmist asserts the obvious: For all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, leaving their wealth to others. 

“Where, O death, is your victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55)

“Where, O death, is your victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55)

But the psalmist is not entirely correct. He makes a sweeping statement that fails to account for a most unusual exception. The psalmist states: No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them—the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—so that they should live on forever and not see decay.

Jesus Christ is that unusual exception. He proves the psalmist wrong. Jesus paid my ransom. He redeemed my life. He went to the cross on my behalf and there he poured out his life blood so that I can live forever. Then to prove that Jesus’ sacrifice was accepted, God the Father raised Him from the dead. Death no longer has dominion over Him. Better still, those who put their trust in Jesus Christ will be raised to life on the last day. Praise be to God, who breaks the bonds of death.

Response: LORD, I thank you for the victory of Jesus! By faith I will live and reign through Him. Amen.

Your Turn: Jesus faced death and overcame. Will you be an overcomer too?