A Proverb in a Song: part 6

“Why should I fear the day of evil?

Iniquity is the very footprint of those who surround me—

Those who trust upon their own strength,

And boast of abundant riches!”

(Psalm 49:6-7 {Psalm 49:5-6 in English Bibles})

 

And now the Psalmist sets the question before us.  How is it that those who believe in God can walk without fear in the presence of Great evil?  How is it that when they are surrounded by men of iniquity, they can stand confident in their God?  Thus, with this in mind, the rest of the psalm is aimed at reasoning through this question and setting the answer before an unbelieving world. 

What I find particularly interesting is the interplay between these two verses.  Verse 6 (Hebrew) begins with the question of fearing in the day of evil and ends with a definition of what the day of evil happens to be, namely the time when his foes surround him—implying the idea of their seeking to crush him.  Literally, the psalmist writes that Iniquity is the “heel” of those who surround him—it is what defines them firstly, but also, it implies malicious intent—particularly in the context of the verb bb;s’ (savav), which means, “to surround.”

As the psalmist moves to verse 7 (Hebrew), he provides a definition of those whose footprint is iniquity—of those whose very life is defined by sin.  And the psalmist lists two attributes:  they rely on their own strength and they praise (or boast in) wealth.  Sadly, that sounds like much of our American culture today?  In America, we idealize the “self-made-man” and the man who can “stand alone” against the world.  Oh, how this mindset is so alien to the Biblical mindset!  How we are not a people who stand alone against the world, but who stand united not only with other believers in the body of Christ but also with Christ himself as our King and Lord.  We are not self-made men and women, but are God-made, and, oh, how I thank God that this is the case!

Beloved, if you are swayed by the world to adopt their views of what makes a man great and strong, you will be led into pride and iniquity.  In addition, if you are relying on your own strength, from where do you find comfort and peace when you are surrounded and overwhelmed by the enemy.  If your strength is in your riches or in your strength, you will be defeated and sink in to fear—and oh, how far that is from where the heart of the believer is to be—how far indeed.  Believer, cling to Christ and find your hope and strength in him and in him alone and call others to do the same.

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