What do you think someone would be willing to pay for you, as your ransom? How much would be too much?
In some ways this psalm is depressing. It reminds me of Ecclesiastes 1.2 – ‘Meaningless! Meaningless! ... Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’ Foolish or wise, we all die like the wild animals (vs 10 & 12). All our wealth is left to others (v 17). What’s the point?
Believe it or not, this psalm is meant to be an encouragement: even rich, wealthy oppressors will not last for ever. What good will their riches do when death comes a-callin’?
A friend was telling me recently what it was like sorting out her late father-in-law’s affairs. His house was cleaned and stripped bare so it could be sold, most of his things given to family members or sold online and at car boot sales. After a few weeks, there was little evidence left of his life.
She told me she saw in a new way what Jesus meant when he said, ‘Store up treasure for yourselves in heaven’ (Matthew 6.20).
The psalmist recognises that to ransom a life is costly – so costly that no one could ever have enough to buy back their life from death (vs 8-9). No one, that is, except God himself (v 15).
Jesus gave his life for you to redeem you from ‘the realm of the dead’ – what are you willing to give back to him in gratitude? Jesus did not draw a line at ‘too much’ – do you?