Monday, June 13, 2016

Understanding Of God Is More Important Than Earthly Accomplishment

Psalm 49:1-20

To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.

”Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world: Both low and high, rich and poor, together.” (Psalm 49:1-2)

This Psalm is a warning for all of humanity.  It was intended to be sung for the general congregation. 

“My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.  I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.  Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?” (Psalm 59:3-5)

The Psalmist has made a choice to think and speak about the things that matter.  He is committed to thinking things through to get a valid understanding. And in order to do so, he will listen to illustrations and compare different types of things in an effort to understand them better.   He has learned that putting things into words or songs helps one to understand them better, and so will use the contemplation and music to help his understanding.  By making such an effort, he can reduce his anxiety when things go differently than expected, and have confidence that not all the problems are the result of his own sin.

“They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.” (Psalm 49:6-9)

People spend their lives trying to gain wealth and power, but no matter how much they have, they cannot obtain eternal life or save themselves or their closest friend or relative from death and eternal judgment, however much they might wish to. 

“For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.  Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.  Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.  This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.  Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.  But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. “ (Psalm 49:10-15)

Every person is forced to recognize that everyone dies, regardless of their  wealth or poverty, or whether they are smart or stupid, and eventually everything they have will belong to someone else.  Human nature likes to think they are immune to this and that even if they die their posterity will continue forever.  In an effort to ensure their name will be carried on they name their lands after themselves.    In spite of their efforts to earn a great reputation and power, they die just like any other animal.   No amount of respect from others will keep one alive, regardless how much they may quote his statements, and once they die, their body decays just like anybody else’s.    The believer has the assurance that one day God will redeem his body from the grave, but the nonbeliever lacks such assurance.

“Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.  Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.  He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.  Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.” (Psalm 49:16-20)

We do not need to be upset when a person gets great power or wealth because it is a temporary situation.  When he dies, he leaves all his wealth and power behind.  Though he may have lived richly and people tend to give respect and admiration to those who appear wealthy, the end result is no different for him than for anyone else.  A person who does not understand what is right and good is no better off than the animals regardless how much respect or power he might have.  His only hope is to be redeemed by God. 


  1. The soul is of immeasurable value and lasts forever. How foolish to waste our brief earthly life worried about accumulating earthly riches we can't take with us, and neglecting to store up treasures in heaven. Thanks for the great post and God bless.