Daily Bible Reading Reflections

Foolish Confidence

We notice confident people. In scary times, a confident leader is stabilizing. In discouraging times, a confident voice can rally courage within weary hearts. In uncertain times, a confident, compassionate friend can be a source of great comfort.

But not all confidence is good or wise. Psalm 49:13 describes “the path of those who have foolish confidence.” How does someone come to be on that path? What sort of confidence is “foolish” in the eyes of our Creator?

Thinking I can commit iniquity, cheat, and take advantage of others without consequence is “foolish confidence” (49:5). God sees. God hears. God knows, and I am accountable to him.

Trusting in wealth is “foolish confidence” (49:6). All the wealth in all the world can’t bear the weight of my God-given purpose. If I construct the house of my life on the treasures of the here and now, I’m building on a foundation of sand.

Boasting in the abundance of “my” riches is “foolish confidence” (49:6). “My” riches aren’t mine to begin with. I’m a steward of a little bit of “stuff” for just a little while.

Acting as if I’ve got plenty of time–maybe unlimited time; I’ll “live on forever” and never experience death–is “foolish confidence” (49:7-11). When the dust of my body returns to the earth as it was and my spirit returns to the God who gave it, all that “stuff” I had… whose will it be? What good will it do me then?

“Man in his pomp” is full of “foolish confidence” (49:12). When it’s all about me–my talents, wisdom, magnificence, and indispensability–I may draw a crowd. I very well may grow a following of people who just can’t get enough of me and my “boasts” (49:13). The impressive platform I’m able to build with the planks of the “praise” of others may be brilliantly lit with the burning ambition of “my glory” (49:17)… for a little while…

What then?

“Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish” (49:20). What good will self-generated pomp and all the applause of all the people in all the world ultimately be if I stand before my Creator and he calls me a fool?

“This is the path of those who have foolish confidence.” (49:13)

We would do well to avoid that path today.