Keep Your Possessions in Your Hands, Not Your Hearts

Pentecost 20 Friday

Psalm 62:10

“Do not rely on injustice and violence and do not be vain. If you become rich, do not set your heart on it.”

Here David concludes the psalm with threats, and scares the godless with God’s might, judgment, and punishment. He wants to say: It pleases you and does you good that you are at court and have found a gracious lord in Saul. Here you are safe, thinking that your position is secure. You don’t worry about doing injustice; in fact, you laugh about it. You mock and injure me and those who are like me. We must put up with you; we may not rebuke you. For your lord protects you; you rely on it. But my advice is that you do not do this. Do not be too secure and self-assured. Do not be vain, that is, do not in this way build on princes and men who are, after all, nothingness. For by doing so you become Nothingness, that is, you deal with nothingness and accomplish nothing; they will all fail you. In fact, I will also tell you this: Even if you became rich justly and from God, do not rely on it and do not turn Mammon into your god. For possessions are not given to you so that you can build on them and be proud of them, which is also nothingness and vain; rather, they are given so that you may use and enjoy them and give them to others, etc. Yet people do not let them go; they build on and are proud of both princes and possessions, that is, on complete nothingness and act based on nothingness. For possessions put you in high spirits, but they are not good and do not preserve high spirits. “Setting your heart on them” means to cling to them; not setting your heart on them means treating them as if you did not have them. For this is how the Hebrew text goes: putting them above the heart or putting them in the heart, clinging to them and taking them to heart. Possessions are supposed to be in our hands, not in our hearts, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:31: We should use the world as if we did not use it, etc.

St. Louis ed., 5:33-34.

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