Psalm 49

Psalm 49

Why Should I Fear in Times of Trouble?

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

49   Hear this, all peoples!
    Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
  both low and high,
    rich and poor together!
  My mouth shall speak wisdom;
    the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
  I will incline my ear to a proverb;
    I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.
  Why should I fear in times of trouble,
    when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me,
  those who trust in their wealth
    and boast of the abundance of their riches?
  Truly no man can ransom another,
    or give to God the price of his life,
  for the ransom of their life is costly
    and can never suffice,
  that he should live on forever
    and never see the pit.
  For he sees that even the wise die;
    the fool and the stupid alike must perish
    and leave their wealth to others.
  Their graves are their homes forever,
    their dwelling places to all generations,
    though they called lands by their own names.
  Man in his pomp will not remain;
    he is like the beasts that perish.
  This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
    yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah
  Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
    death shall be their shepherd,
  and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.
    Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.
  But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
    for he will receive me. Selah
  Be not afraid when a man becomes rich,
    when the glory of his house increases.
  For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
    his glory will not go down after him.
  For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed
    —and though you get praise when you do well for yourself—
  his soul will go to the generation of his fathers,
    who will never again see light.
  Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.


Psalm 49 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Death. No one can escape it. It is a certainty that all of humanity agrees upon regardless of what they believe about God or the afterlife. You and I will die one day, and at that moment, our lives will be weighed and measured. The scales used will not take into consideration Earthly accomplishments. Everything acquired in this life is left behind.

What will be weighed upon death are the intangibles of our pursuit of God. Faith, love, humility, repentance, and obedience are just a few. How many today are rich in material wealth but poor in spiritual fruit? How many have prioritized entertainment, popularity, and prestige over humility, service, and meekness?

King Solomon is a sobering reminder that we can start off well and finish poorly. Solomon had everything going for him. He was handed a great kingdom from his father David. He accumulated incredible wealth and wisdom through God’s blessing. But even his innumerable blessings and extensive wisdom could not save him from his sin issue.

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women,  2  from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love.

3  He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.  4  For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

1 Kings 11:1-4 ESV

The danger of loving the possessions and pleasures of this life is that they begin to take ownership of our hearts. Just take a moment and consider that Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived! If his heart was turned through the sins of impurity and greed, there is no doubt our hearts are in danger of the same outcome. The greatest form of evil comes in the most innocent and subtle packages.

One compromise seems harmless. It leads to another, and another, and another. After a while, we begin to justify our behavior and convince ourselves it isn’t sinning. We sometimes even allow ourselves to indulge in sin under pseudo-spiritual reasoning and think that God approves it. Why does discernment matter so much? Because our lives (and the lives of others) are at stake.

I want to circle back to the first statement. No one can escape death. The call for today is to live as relentless followers of Jesus Christ. We never know when our time will come!

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