SLOW SUMMER DAYS &
SWEET SUMMER NIGHTS
ARE FADING INTO FALL,
AND WE CLOSE OUR SERIES ON THE PSALMS OF THE SONS OF KORAH
WITH AN INTRIGUING CHANGE IN TONE:
FROM WORSHIP TO WISDOM,
FOR IMPORTANT THINGS ARE SAID WHEN TIME IS RUNNING OUT.
PSALM 49 OPENS LIKE PROVERBS,
WITH A CRY TO ALL:
WE REMEMBER THAT THE SONS OF KORAH
SAW THEIR FATHERS,
WHO TRUSTED IN THEMSELVES,
SWALLOWED UP BY THE EARTH.
NOW THEY DEDICATE THEIR LIVES TO
SONGS OF WORSHIP,
TO SINGING ABOUT
WHAT MATTERS MOST.
TO PREPARE YOUR HEART FOR A RICH STUDY, LISTEN TO THIS:
On a personal note, I think you did tremendously last week with Augustine and the City of God. There were great questions, thoughtful “listening,” and together we grew. I’m so thankful for the fellowship here. On a side note, this weekend and Tuesday Dr. Dobson is re-airing my first interview (in two parts) with him, done thirty years ago on my book The Friendships of Women. I love that man, and I credit him with opening doors for me, and I am still amazed he did. I sound like a child in the interview, and in fact, I was. I was scared but Steve was there cheering me on and praying. If you want to listen, here are the links. You can listen today (I think) but surely Monday and Tuesday.
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
MONDAY-FRIDAY BIBLE STUDY‘
It’s a holiday week, so I will keep this short, without a sermon, so you can keep up. This psalm is an intriguing mix, feeling more like Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job than the psalms — a wisdom psalm about the folly of trusting in ourselves, in our riches — and instead fully resting in God. We will glean together and prepare our hearts for a new year, for it often seems September is as much a fresh start as January.
What I find fascinating about this psalm is the link between fear and materialism. When we accumulate that which we do not need, the sin beneath the sin is an idol that lies to us, telling us our security is in things instead of God. And what happens is that our closets and cupboards and counters overflow with cumber, decreasing our joy and efficiency. It is not that we need these things, but that we afraid to let them go and trust God. But there is a freedom when cumber goes, and a beauty in simplicity. We may be working for that which we do not need, clinging to that which we shall lose, and losing that which we could keep forever.
2. Read Psalm 49 in its entirety for an overview. What quickens you and why?
3. The repeated phrase in verses 12 and 20 is the heart of the psalm. What is it and
what does it say, in your own words?
4. Read Psalm 49:1-6
A. To whom is this psalm speaking? (1-4)
B. What should we not trust in and why, according to verses 5-6?
C. What similarity do you see between this opening and the opening of proverbs?
What is the tone, the plea, the importance?
5. Read Psalm 49:7-14
A. Find at least four reasons why it is folly to trust in wealth and put so much
energy into it.
B. How do verses 7-8 speak against the religious practice of indulgences?
C. In many ways this psalm sounds like the dismal voice of Ecclesiastes (3:9).
Yet there is a sure hope in verse 15. Find the similarity to Ecclesiastes and the
6. Read Psalm 49:16-20 and list the final warnings about riches.
7. Have you experienced the beauty of simplicity — of more with less? If so, share.
8. As you look ahead to the fresh start of fall, how might you take these warnings to
heart and plan for a fruitful fall?
9. As you look back on these seven Psalms of the sons of Korah — what do you think
you will remember and why? Did knowing they were written or sung by these sons
make a difference in how you viewed them?