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Reflections on Psalm 49:

This is something everyone needs to hear, regardless of status or wealth; it applies to every living person on the planet.

I’m going to explain something to you, says the psalmist, and if you’re wise you’ll think about it until you really understand it.

Ask yourself this: As a child of God, why should I be fearful when I’m surrounded by evil and deception, by people who think the balance on their financial statements gives them the right to do whatever they want — the people who brag about all the great stuff they’ve got. All the money and status in the world can’t make up for sin — theirs or anyone else’s. Nothing they can ever accumulate can save a single person from death; that kind of salvation is far more costly than all the world’s wealth combined. The richest of the rich can’t buy a single minute more than God has allotted them.

It’s plain enough that everyone who is born is destined to die. Wise or foolish, rich or poor, they all come to the same end, and there’s no U-Haul attached to the hearse. They may have tried to immortalize themselves by naming streets or cities or institutions after themselves, but it all comes down to this: mansions and vast estates in life are reduced to a narrow grave or a few square inches in a mausoleum.

People don’t last, no matter how rich they are. Like all animals, they die. The question is, what then?

A desolate end is the fate of people who trust in themselves, and all who agree with them. They think wealth and position are all that counts, and they spend their lives accordingly. They’re like sheep following the world’s values, and that kind of shepherd will lead them to the slaughterhouse.

But when the dark night of death has passed, those who worship God will rise to be with Him forever. The decadent in life will decay in their graves, far from their former luxurious surroundings.

God will redeem me and all of His children from the realm of the dead, because Jesus Himself has paid the ransom for us. I know that God will take me to Himself and I will live with Him forever.

So don’t be bug-eyed when others get rich and live in huge houses with cars, boats and every gadget imaginable. They can’t take it with them, and all that splendor will die with them. Sure, people like that think they have it made on this side of the grave, and people keep telling them how smart they are to have so much. But without God, their destiny is darkness; total darkness only alleviated by eternal burning regret that they missed the point, the essence of life, and elevated themselves instead of the God who made them. Death will send their elevator crashing, and they’ll have all eternity to bitterly regret their choice. They had money, but no understanding. That came too late.

The thing to understand is this: Life is short. Eternity is endless. Earthly splendor is fleeting. Heavenly splendor endures forever.

So which will you choose as your destiny?