Monday, July 23, 2018

Dust in the Wind


Those of low estate are but a breath, those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no confidence in extortion, and set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.
Psalm 62:9-12

Today's portion of the psalms is intended to put things in perspective. At first glance, it seems little more than a precursor of Kansas' song that said, "All we are is dust in the wind." But just as Kansas had a bit more to say on the subject, so does this psalm: 

Now, don't hang on, 
nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.
It slips away, 
and all your money won't another minute buy.
Dust in the wind; all we are is dust in the wind
Kerry Livgren
 
Kansas was a band on a spiritual journey, but I don't think that journey had turned onto its Christian path by 1977 when this song was written. Perhaps if it had, there'd have been another stanza. But even so, Livgren's "all we are is dust in the wind" and "they are together lighter than a breath" share a message. And the idea that money adds importance or weight to our lives is specifically rejected by both the psalmist and the songwriter.

Where Dust in the Wind and the 62nd Psalm part company is the message of God's power and God's love—two concepts that are inseparable in the psalmist's eyes, but play no rôle in Kansas' song. The poor are insignificant and they know it. The rich think their wealth makes them significant, but they are, if anything, of less significance than the poor, because their delusion makes them even more pitiful. Kansas said that "nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky," but the psalm speaks of a God on whom the faithful can hang the hopes that the rich place in their money.

Verse 11 tells us that God has said it once, but the psalmist had heard it twice—in other words, God's word, once spoken, is eternal, but we need to read it, hear it, and think about it over and over to truly get the message. And what is the message? That both power and abiding love belong to God. If I would have either as part of my life, then I should turn not to material greed, but to the God who created all things.

Forgive me, Lord, for placing my trust in things that, in the end, don't matter. For such things simply weigh me down on my journey to you. Free me from distraction that I may find you, and free me from the weight of wealth that I may be wholly yours; in Jesus' Name. Amen.

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