Devotion for February 21, 2024

“Those of low estate are but a breath, those of high estate are a delusion, in the balances they go up … If riches increase set not your heart on them. (Psalm 62:9a,10b)

In front of us is an antique set of measuring scales. The thing we want to measure is placed on one plate and the standardized weights on the other until an equilibrium is reached. Imagine on one side we put the weight of a single breath. Scientists tell us that a single breath weighs about 0.5 to 5 grams, depending on your definition and the size of your lungs. Enough to say it is exceedingly light. The other side of the scales is piled with the weight of all those of “low estate”. Variations of that word are prolific in the Old and New Testaments. It can mean humility (as in the opposite of arrogance) but also a low social, emotional or financial state.

When weighed in the balance, those of low estate are almost nothing; they weigh the same as a breath. People of high estate are less than nothing, and “in the balances they go up”. Putting our hope in riches is foolishness. And should our wealth increase, we are stupid to trust in that to make us happy. Neither state is better than the other. Trust in God alone and his steadfast love. When we look in the mirror, can we honestly say that the bent of our lives is not towards earning more, increasing our status at work, on Instagram or at the pub — or avoiding shame and ridicule perhaps by spending hours practicing our golf swing or getting our kids into the best schools?

God says, “Unless the Lord builds the house the laborers labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Whatever state we are in, it is the Lord’s doing. Have a look at this from the King James Version, which is particularly vivid: “The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill … For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s … by strength shall no man prevail” (1 Samuel 2:6–8).

We don’t hear the word “dunghill” anymore, but it’s a powerful image of being up the creek without a paddle. Rich or poor, without Christ, we are all up that same creek. Let your work be trusting him and his strength, fleeing to him for refuge, pouring out your needy heart to him.

Prayer

Lord, I am a sinful human being dependent on You for all things. Let Your promises sustain me, and let Your grace fill my life, so that I may be Your child and be a blessing to everyone I meet. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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