Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The Bible and Economics
I began looking at the "wealth" of material (ha!) found in Psalms on this topic back in September, offering findings from the first ten Psalms. Today, I'm looking between Psalm 39 to Psalm 49 (with the whole of chapter 49 being about wealth, poverty and wisdom).
Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. "But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you... You rebuke and discipline men for their sin; you consume their wealth like a moth — each man is but a breath.
Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were.
Psalm 39: 6, 7, 11, 12
Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods... Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay.
~Psalm 40: 4, 16
Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.
The LORD will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.
The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness.
~Psalm 41: 1-3
And here's an odd one that I include because it is mentioning specifically wealth and gold, but I'm not sure exactly of the context. It appears to be praise for the new wife (the Psalm is called "a wedding song") being led to the king's chambers by a bunch of virgins...
Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father's house.
The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.
The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift, men of wealth will seek your favor.
All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold.
In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her and are brought to you.
They are led in with joy and gladness; they enter the palace of the king.
~Psalm 45: 10-15
For what it's worth. Moving on...
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 utterance from my heart will give understanding...
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 man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him - the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough - that he should live on forever and not see decay.
For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others.
Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves.
But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish.
This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings...
Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him.
Though while he lived he counted himself blessed — and men praise you when you prosper - he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life .
A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.
~Psalm 49: 1-3, 5-13, 16-20