I replace the filter of our HVAC system every six months. Back in December, I picked up the filter for $48. As you can see in the picture, the same product in June cost $70.
I don’t need to flog the cost of living statistics, as we’re all living them.
But the mounting prices made me pause and ponder Psalm 119:72,
The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Is that so? Because I’m not worried about access to the Word of God. I have Bibles galore here at home and I keep one in my locker at work. And like most folks I have all of these here EElectronic devices that can bring me Scripture in sight and sound. God’s law is all over the place whenever I want it.
But I’d likely close my Bible or shut a sacred app if you pointed me to a pile of gold and silver pieces in this economy. I’d be running to scoop up the cash.
Sometimes we take a verse like Psalm 119:72 to be about overcoming greed. We see the one who delights in gold and silver as a stage or screen rendering of Ebenezer Scrooge. We are comforted that we go and hear God’s Word now and again, rather than tether ourselves to a desk, counting our money.
But money isn’t always a source of selfish pleasure. It is a profound driver of anxiety. Indeed, Psalm 119 sets the the choice of God’s Word in that context:
It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. (vv. 71-72)
The choice here is between giving in to anxiousness or learning from the mouth of God. Gold and silver stave off one anxious concern only to have another rush in to take its place. But God is always the one who is “good and brings forth good” (Psalm 119:68}.
In the current economy, anxiety can become constant. The Bible does not deny the reality and unpleasantness of financial or any other afflictions. They happen and they hurt.
Yet we are called to find something better – not just the solving of our problems, but their “shrinkage” relative to the reality in which we stand, even when we ignore it over lesser things:
Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. (v. 73)
We are God’s personal project. We are the treasure with which God is most concerned. To grow in this knowledge does not eliminate our struggles, but it challenges their anxiety producing power over our lives.