Men are only a vapor; exalted men, an illusion. On a balance scale, they go up; together they [weigh] less than a vapor. Place no trust in oppression, or false hope in robbery. If wealth increases, pay no attention to it. God has spoken once; I have heard this twice; strength belongs to God, and faithful love belongs to You, Lord. For You repay each according to his works (vv. 9-12).
I have a tendency to be impressed with a person’s status, his level of achievement, her impeccable credentials. David shows us how futile it is to place too much emphasis on human accomplishment. Why? Because all people, regardless of rank or position, are “but a breath.”
Another common fallacy in affluent America is our fascination with moneymaking. We have only to watch the stock market to see that money is an inadequate object for our faith. In a roller-coaster economy, a person who sets his heart on getting rich is skating on thin ice. Both human ingenuity and material prosperity are meaningless when weighted against the majesty and might of God.
Where, then, is the real power in life, the real reward? David shows us the answer in two facets of God’s diamond-like character: “You, O God, are strong…You, O Lord, are loving.” On the basis of these two attributes, he will control events so that perfect justice prevails in the end. We can trust that kind of God to reward us accordingly.
O God, I thank you that, though I am so weak, you are strong. Even more astounding is that you love me and are planning to reward me “according to what [I have] done.”