Psalms 49:1

 

The Bible says in Psalms 49:1-4, “Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:[2] Both low and high, rich and poor, together.[3] My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.[4] I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.” Verse one says that the message of this Psalm is for “all” the people and all the “inhabitants of the world.” That is true of the entire Bible. The Bible was given in written form so that every person in the world could read it, study it, and benefit from its great teachings. The Bible is the Word of God without error. Notice that verse one says to “hear” and to “give ear,” and verse three says “My mouth shall speak.” God will raise up pastor-teachers to preach and to teach His Word. They will have a period of growing in Christ and training in the Word, and then they will start teaching what God has taught them. You need to hear such a teacher. The reason that a teacher-preacher can teach the Word of God is because, like we said, they went through a time of training. What did that training involve? Notice the end of verse three where the writer of this Psalm says, “the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.” They meditated upon the Word by reading it, studying it, and learning from their teachers. They were taught by the Holy Spirit, and thus they have understanding in their heart that they are able to communicate. As it says in verse four, the teachers have learned the parables and the dark sayings. The parables are the teachings of the Bible that have a spiritual significance. Jesus taught in parables. Only those who are initiated in the life of Christ will understand the parables. Once they understand them, they can teach them to others. The “dark” sayings are the teaching of the Bible that are hard to be understood, but they can be understood with a good knowledge of the Scriptures and the enlightening of the Holy Spirit. Most people of the world do not understand the difference between law and grace, or the doctrine of salvation by faith only in Jesus Christ, or the sovereignty of God verses the free will of man, or water baptism verses the baptism of the Spirit, or the infallibility of the Word of God, or the trinity, or the prophecies of things to come as described in the book of Revelation. A wise believer will find a preacher-teacher who does understand these things and will go to church to hear him whenever possible.

 

The Bible says in Psalms 49:5, “Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?” The last phrase of this verse that says, “when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about” means “when a company of evil people shall compass me about.” Believers should never fear anything because we have the promises of the great eternal Savior to protect us, to guide us, and to fight our battles for us. The first part of verse five speaks of the “days of evil.” We are fortunate that because of Christ we live in the age of grace, and we can expect good things to constantly flow down from heaven into our lives. But there is evil in the world: terrible evil. And sometimes evil is given the upper hand. It happened in Germany when Hitler came into power. It happened in China and Russia when communism took control. And evil is well on its way to happening in America now that secularism and socialism are spreading throughout the land largely due to the teaching in the universities over the past several decades. It is sad to see, but we should not fear. God can fix it, if He wants to. If more people would repent and turn to Christ, then it could be fixed. If people who claim to believe on Jesus would start serving Him with zeal and with fervor, then it could be fixed. Either way, we will not fear even if the evil days come and even if the crowds of evil people surround us. We will trust in the Lord with all our heart.

 

The Bible says in Psalms 49:6-9, “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;[7] None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:[8] (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)[9] That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.” More money is not the answer to the most important needs of human beings. Money is especially not the answer to the spiritual needs. There is nothing wrong with wealth and riches. Money is simply a tool to use for the glory of God, if you are wise concerning whatever riches you might have. According to verse six and according to the rest of the Bible, money is a problem for those “that trust in their wealth.” We need to trust in the Lord Jesus with all our heart, and anything that keeps us from doing that will be a horrible influence. Jesus said in Matthew 13:22, “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” Jesus also said in Matthew 19:24, “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God

 

Psalm 49:7 says it very well: “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” To “redeem” means to pay a price for something or to purchase something. We know this is talking about the spiritual needs of a human being because verse eight speaks of “the redemption of their soul.” It also says “the redemption of their soul is precious.” One human soul is more valuable than all the riches of the world. Riches will pass away, but a soul will live forever somewhere. If a soul is so valuable, what price can be paid to purchase a soul so that it will live forever? Here is the price: the precious blood of Christ. That is why the salvation of a soul is called “redemption.” A human soul is a slave in the slave-market of sin. How can that soul be purchased and set free from slavery? The blood of Christ is the price that was paid. That is why it says in First Peter 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;[19] But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”  

 

The Bible says in Psalms 49:10-13, “For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.[11] 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.[12] Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.[13] This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.” One of the reasons that money does not really mean much in the grand scheme of things is that you cannot take one penny with you when you leave this world. Another reason that money is not important is because money is a material substance, but the true worship of God is spiritual. But unsaved people and unwise people do not know this. They live as though material things will last forever. Verse eleven says, “Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever.” They are forgetting one important fact about life: death: as it says in verse twelve about the rich person, “he is like the beasts that perish.” The Bible gives us a healthy view of death: we know it is a fact, but we also know that Jesus has the solution to death which is called eternal life through faith in Him. Paul was able to say, “To me to live is Christ, but to die is gain.” Those who put too much importance on the things of this life including wealth are said to have “folly.” This should be obvious to everyone. And yet verse thirteen says, “their posterity approve their sayings.” The problem that the wrong view of wealth causes continues generation after generation. The only escape is to turn to Jesus for forgiveness.

 

The Bible says in Psalms 49:14, “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.” Human beings are often compared to sheep in the Bible. This verse uses a negative example of sheep for something that happens to people: death. And sheep that do not have a shepherd will die much sooner than is necessary. Also, physical death is symbolic of spiritual death. And spiritual death will be forever because spiritual death is eternal separation from God. Those that trust in their riches instead of Christ will go to hell. And “the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning.” What morning will that be? That will be the morning that Christ returns and turns the tables and brings to pass His saying: “the meek shall inherit the earth

 

The Bible says in Psalms 49:15, “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.” One of the many blessings that believers in Jesus have is the assurance of our salvation. We know that we are saved through faith in Christ. We know that we are forgiven. We know that we have eternal life and a home in heaven. We know that God will redeem us “from the power of the grave.” The Psalmist said, “for he shall receive me.” That is for certain. Jesus will receive everyone who comes unto God by Him. Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest

 

The Bible says in Psalms 49:16-19, “Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;[17] For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.[18] Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.[19] He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.” Most rich people do not know Jesus as Savior. Most people who do know Jesus as their personal Savior are not rich. It says in First Corinthians 1:26-27, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: [27] But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty

 

Those that are rich have more power and influence than we do from a human standpoint. But we are believers in the Almighty God our Savior. Jesus has more power and wealth and authority than any of the rich humans. That is why we are told in verse sixteen, “Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased.” Verse seventeen says, “For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away.” That is just a reminder that no one takes anything with them when they die. Therefore, what good are riches in regards to eternity: no good at all. This life will soon be past; only what is done for Christ will last. Verse eighteen mentions two things that the rich have in this life: they think they have done well in life, but it goes to their head and they are vain and proud too often: “while he lived he blessed his soul.” And other people think they have done well: “men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.” But verse nineteen is a reminder of their final end: “He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.” The rich will die just like everyone else, and then it will all end. They will end up with nothing unless they have the light of Christ in their hearts.

 

The Bible says in Psalms 49:20, “Man that is in honor, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.” This is one last statement about the vanity of riches. Someone might receive honor from other human beings because they are rich and powerful, but they what they really needed was understanding of spiritual truth through faith in Christ. They will “perish,” because Jesus will say to them at their judgment, “I never knew you. Depart from me ye that work iniquity.” Jesus also said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free

 

 

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Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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