We’re much more familiar with Psalm 23–“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want”–than Psalm 49, a psalm of the sons of Korah. Psalm 49 is an honest look at “the path of those who have foolish confidence” (49:13), men and women who are treading paths of “iniquity” (49:5). They trust “in their wealth” (49:6), calling “lands by their own names” (49:11). They are people of “pomp” (49:12). While they live, they count themselves “blessed” (49:18). But here’s the terrifying part: “death shall be their shepherd” (49:14).
What a stark contrast, a night-and-day difference laid before us as a fork in the road: the Path of Psalm 23 vs. the Path of Psalm 49.
The Path of Psalm 23: “The LORD is my shepherd”
- He makes me lie down in green pastures
- He leads me beside still waters
- He restores my soul
- He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake
- Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
- My shepherd is with me
- His rod and his staff, they comfort me
In the other direction, the Path of Psalm 49
- I have confidence in myself
- I’m paving my own path
- I trust in my stuff
- I’m successful in the eyes of my peers
- I’m surrounded by pomp wherever I go
- I count myself blessed because of my accomplishments
- People know my name
- …but death shall be my shepherd
Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish. (Psa 49:20)
May we humbly take into account where these diverging paths eventually end and choose our shepherd carefully.