The Psalms are not just a random collection of poems, shuffled and thrown together by whim. There is purpose in their order, though discerning that is not as obvious as when reading a story a letter. The Psalms can actually build on one another, telling a story of a Godward life with all its ups and downs. Some psalms are more famous than others (think Psalm 23 and Psalm 51), and the rest just seem like random filler. But what if told you that Psalms 49 and 50 are essential to a proper understanding of Psalm 51, which we tend to read on its own, out of context with the Psalms that precede it? Stick with me as we start in Psalm 49 and begin to unpack how these psalms speak to our lives (and even to my burnout). (you may want to open it in your browser or read along in your Bible).
The overall theme of Psalm 49 is this: if you trust in yourself, you will come to ruin. So much ruin that you exchange the Lord as your shepherd for Death as your shepherd (v. 13-14). To trust in yourself means you try to save yourself; trust in your wealth means that you do not trust in God’s resources.
The problem is that no one can save themselves (or anyone else for that matter), no matter how hard we try. God alone can save, God alone redeems. How does this connect to Psalm 50? Stay tuned.