Psalm 146

Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— the LORD, who remains faithful forever.

He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD.

According to Psalm 90:10, the Biblical lifespan is 70-80 years. Some spend this time in a constant dash for all that this world has to offer. They delight in stacking up possessions, awards, trophies, and recognition. Fame and fortune are their goals. We all know people for whom this has become an obsession. They sacrifice relationships, family, and even their health in the quest for more. Frankly, some do very well indeed, acquiring multiple millions in net worth and enjoying a lifestyle that’s the envy of most.

But on the day they die it all stops. Gone are their possessions, their bank accounts and their trophies, and as they are called to give account for their lives they’ll discover that they’re about to be judged according to standards they never paid much attention to. In their quest to become life’s winners, they focused exclusively on the rules of this world, chasing their goals with all the energy they had.

Now, they’ll discover that they’ve actually become its biggest losers, because while they lived an enviable life according to world standards, that won’t be the case in eternity. In the first 80 years of their eternal existence they’ll have gotten all the happiness and joy they will ever receive. Ever. The rest of their eternity will be spent regretting that they didn’t pay more attention when the eternal rules were explained to them.

Because they were. The first things they’ll be shown after they die are the times when they were confronted with the Gospel and brushed it off. Then they’ll realize that they’re without excuse and without hope. Not even by paying over every one of the millions of dollars they acquired in life can they modify even an instant of the eternal regret they’ll be starting to feel in death.

The tragedy is that most of these men and women could have had it all, and come out winners in both time and eternity. The Bible doesn’t prevent such achievement; in fact it encourages it. But they were too smart for their own good. With out investing a moment’s time in research, they rejected the Gospel out of hand, something they would never have done with a new idea on how to make more money.

Although they claimed to be wise they became fools, as Paul put it in Romans 1:22, accepting unsubstantiated opinion about things of eternal significance instead of doing their own due diligence in search of the truth. Had they treated one of their financial transactions in such a cavalier fashion, their stockholders would have fired them forth with.

So if their life looks better to you than yours, take heart. Soon their time in the sun will be over forever while yours will be just beginning. And theirs will have lasted only a few years while yours will last through all of eternity. Having followed one of their axioms, you’ve done first things first, you’ve sought His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33 ) and now your light and momentary troubles are achieving for you an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Cor. 4:17)

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— the LORD, who remains faithful forever.