In the Office: The Price of a Life

Among today’s readings in the Daily Office, I came upon a passage that I’m not sure I’ve really noticed before. The psalmist writes:

“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 one can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for them—
the ransom for a life is costly,
no payment is ever enough—
so that they should live on forever
and not see decay.” (Psalm 49:5-9)

Now, in their context, these words give the psalmist a reason not to fear the rich and powerful. “Like all others,” he says, “they, too, will perish; and their wealth and power will perish with them.” And who knows? In this era when the rich and powerful seem to have so much influence over our common destiny and invest so much of their wealth and power pursuing agendas that fan the flames of division, maybe that in itself is a lesson of which we need to be reminded.

But seen through a broader lens, what if there is someone who can redeem the life of another? What if there is a payment so precious that is can ransom our lives and allow us to live on forever?

Of course, we know who that someone is. Jesus said: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28).

If you’re reading this, I’ve got no idea what you might be facing today. But whatever it is, may you have the peace that comes from knowing: You are so precious to God that He would pay even that price in order to ransom you.

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