Week beginning: 27th March, 2016
By Caroline Eade | Cambridge
"Why should I fear when evil days come,Psalm 49:5-9 (NIV 2010)
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 for ever
and not see decay."
In these verses "wealth" is shorthand for self-sufficiency and independence. Those who are rich are more likely to feel safe, and to think they can buy their way out of difficulty. Later on in the psalm the writer talks about the wealthy as "those who trust in themselves".
Much of the practice of law involves helping people to avoid or minimise risk. But the continual practice of risk mitigation can have dangerous side-effects. We can easily develop habits of mind and heart that lead us to believe we can protect ourselves from harm - that we can trust in our own strategies for life, and to secure what is good.
The psalm reminds us that nothing - no amount of wealth or other form of earthly security - can protect us from death, or buy us eternal life. It is a brutal reality. But the psalm also gives us a beautiful glimpse of the gospel. Confronted by our incapacity in the face of death, we are thrown into dependence on God who alone can rescue us, and on his Son who gave himself up for us, paying the price of his own life so that we might live for ever. We are humbled by the rebuke to our pretence at self-sufficiency. And we are prompted to praise him for the free gift of eternal life that he has bought for us, at such great cost to himself.
1. That God would guard us against the deceitfulness of wealth (whether we have it or not!).
2. That we would keep on putting our trust in God who rescues us, rather than in the earthly things we think will make us safe.
3. That this Easter we would take every opportunity to point others to the hope of eternal life in Christ.