Read the following psalm and allow it to be your prayer to God today.
Psalm 49 (NIV)
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.
This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning). Their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions. But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases; for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them. Though while they live they count themselves blessed—and people praise you when you prosper—they will join those who have gone before them, who will never again see the light of life.
People who have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish.
Psalm 49 (NRSV)
Hear this, all you peoples; give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both low and high, rich and poor together. My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp.
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? Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life, there is no price one can give to God for it. For the ransom of life is costly, and can never suffice, that one should live on forever and never see the grave.
When we look at the wise, they die; fool and dolt perish together and leave their wealth to others. Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they named lands their own. Mortals cannot abide in their pomp; they are like the animals that perish.
Such is the fate of the foolhardy, the end of those who are pleased with their lot. Selah. Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; straight to the grave they descend, and their form shall waste away; Sheol shall be their home. But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah.
Do not be afraid when some become rich, when the wealth of their houses increases. For when they die they will carry nothing away; their wealth will not go down after them. Though in their lifetime they count themselves happy—for you are praised when you do well for yourself—they will go to the company of their ancestors, who will never again see the light. Mortals cannot abide in their pomp; they are like the animals that perish.
Creative Options for Reading Psalms
Draw a Prayer
The Psalms are filled with rich imagery. After reading Psalm 49, draw the images that come to mind. You don’t have to be an artist to find value in drawing the images and emotions behind the Psalms.
If you don’t enjoy drawing, you can write out Psalm 49 using different colored pens or pencils. Creatively writing out the psalm can help you connect with it in a new way.
Listen to a Song
Poor Bishop Hooper publishes a new song each week. Each song creatively presents the words of a psalm.
You can find their song based on Psalm 49 here.
Read with a Friend
Find a friend or family member and read the psalm together. Together, talk about what Psalm 49 means to you. Sometimes having another perspective can help you gain new insights.
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