And the Rich will…Die – Reflection on Psalm 49

Psalm 49:1-20

Who hasn’t wondered why good things happen to bad people. We want to believe that good things happen to good people, but reality doesn’t always work out. Good people suffer. Bad people flourish. At least it seems that way.

The psalmist wasn’t the last person to wonder why the rich have such a great life. They are large and in charge! They rule over the poor. What hope do the poor have? The rich set the rules, the poor follow. The haves continue to add to their stockpile. The poor continue to struggle. No wonder the poor look to heaven and wonder about the fairness of life.

The psalmist reminds us that, in the end, the rich and powerful will die like everyone else. Their riches and wealth will die as well. All the wealth in the world cannot redeem them from death. Their massive estates cannot buy their way out of the grave.

In the end, their wealth will not last and neither will their fame. They will die like animals and there is nothing they can do about it.

The psalmist chooses another way. He knows that God will redeem his life and snatch him from the “power of the grave”. Verse 15 begins his reflection of a life centered in God rather than wealth. Because he trusts in God, he rests secure.

This psalm of wisdom and instruction concludes by telling us not to be dismayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become nicer and nicer (verse 16). The psalmist addresses reality by taking a long view of life. Yes, some wicked prosper in this life, but their accolades and good times won’t last.

Those who rest their lives in God will find redemption, peace, love, and life. In the end, those who are rich toward God will be victorious over the grave. In him we have hope.

May your eyes not rest on the rich, the wicked, or your enemies, but be firmly fixed on your Lord and God.

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