Who is that one person that you love so much that you would give all your assets and possessions, even your own soul, so that they could live on for ever and never have to taste death, never have to lie there cold and ashen, prepared for burial?
We all have someone, surely, that we would give everything to redeem them from the inevitable decay that awaits them in the belly of the earth.
But we cannot make them live on for ever. We do not possess the power to save them. They will die; the graveyards are full of people that someone loved dearly yet could not prevent their demise.
I remember the scene at the graveyard. Most of the mourners had left. Hugging the casket of the 20 year old young man was his grandfather, sobbing and moaning, “But I loved him. My darling boy. But I loved him!” And in that instant I knew that he would have given his very own life in exchange for his grandson’s. But he could not.
We mortal human beings cannot redeem, for any price, someone that we love. Our riches cannot be brought and given to God as a ransom paid in order to purchase the life of our loved one and thus prevent them from dying.
It is only God Almighty, the Giver of life to our loved one, who will take back that life at a certain time. We are not in control of life or death. God is, and He will take our lives back to Himself. And there is nothing we can do to alter this fact. Rooms full of gold cannot purchase a ticket out of death.
And God has ordained this so, as a lesson for us to learn, a lesson to teach us wisdom and understanding, a lesson for all people in the world, rich and poor and high and low. The lesson lies in us facing up to this truth: that God is sovereign and in complete control of our scheduled descent into the dusty tomb of the earth.
As we contemplate this, it is God’s hope that we distill drops of sorely needed wisdom, which is the “fear of the LORD (Yahweh).” Wisdom is being in reverential awe of this God, who is in control, who has given us a short time in these earthly bodies to learn of Him and His love, who will someday soon take the spark of His spirit back, and our fragile shells will fall to the ground, taking nothing with them, no matter how richly arrayed they once were.
Wisdom is being in awe of Him. And understanding is “to depart from evil.” He hopes that these thoughts will awaken His people to His saving power, for He is the only power in the universe that can and has trumped death.
And when we realize all this, that He has already paid the price for our resurrection, then this meditation on our weakness and His power over death will have done its job on us. For the above is the lesson found in Psalm 49. Read it all again. It is addressed to you, to all of us. “Hear this, all peoples; give ear, all inhabitants of the world…my mouth shall speak wisdom.” Kenneth Wayne Hancock