Psalm 49

ps49.jpgGreetings!  This is an instructive Psalm about the futility of living for worldly pleasures.  Everyone will die and face judgment (Hebrews 9:27) and it does no good to gain the whole world yet forfeit your soul (Mark 8:36).

The reference to ransom reminds us that while slaves could be ransomed by someone else the slave couldn’t ransom himself.  In the same way, we can’t ransom ourselves from the judgment of sin and death but Jesus ransoms us if we trust in him.  Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Psalm 49

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

1 Hear this, all you peoples;

listen, all who live in this world,

2 both low and high,

rich and poor alike:

3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom;

the utterance from my heart will give understanding.

4 I will turn my ear to a proverb;

with the harp I will expound my riddle:

5 Why should I fear when evil days come,

when wicked deceivers surround me—

6 those who trust in their wealth

and boast of their great riches?

7 No man can redeem the life of another

or give to God a ransom for him—

8 the ransom for a life is costly,

no payment is ever enough—

9 that he should live on forever

and not see decay.

10 For all can see that wise men die;

the foolish and the senseless alike perish

and leave their wealth to others.

11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever,

their dwellings for endless generations,

though they had named lands

after themselves.

12 But man, despite his riches, does not endure;

he is like the beasts that perish.

13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,

and of their followers, who approve their sayings. Selah

14 Like sheep they are destined for the grave,

and death will feed on them.

The upright will rule over them in the morning;

their forms will decay in the grave,

far from their princely mansions.

15 But God will redeem my life from the grave;

he will surely take me to himself. Selah

Note the hope the Psalmist has!  It had seemed that we just return to dust forever, but God can redeem our lives eternally.

16 Do not be overawed when a man grows rich,

when the splendor of his house increases;

17 for he will take nothing with him when he dies,

his splendor will not descend with him.

18 Though while he lived he counted himself blessed—

and men praise you when you prosper—

19 he will join the generation of his fathers,

who will never see the light of life.

20 A man who has riches without understanding

is like the beasts that perish.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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