July 17th Psalm 49
A Psalm for the sons of Korah
The foolishness of trusting riches
1: 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. 5: Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about? 6: 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. 10: 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. 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. 15: But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. 16: 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. 20: Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
A Psalm of Asaph
(Israel’s Redeemer) God is the judge
1: The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. 2: Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. 3: Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. 4: He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. 5: Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. 6: And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah. 7: Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. 8: I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. 9: I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. 10: For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. 11: I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. 12: If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. 13: Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? 14: Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: 15: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. 16: But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? 17: Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. 18: When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. 19: Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. 20: Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. 21: These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. 22: Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. 23: Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.
To the chief musician,
Today we are reading Psalm 49 & 50. In Psalm 49 the psalmist calls on all the people of the world to listen to what he has to say. He addresses the high and low, the rich and poor. He says I want to tell you about the wise thoughts of my heart. He says, why should I be afraid in evil days? He is thinking of those who trust in their wealth. He says no man is able to purchase his brother from death or pay God a ransom for his soul. The redemption of their souls is far too costly no man could ever finish paying the debt. No man can pay any price to prevent death coming to him. The wise die and the foolish die and are laid out side by side. The brute and the millionaire die one day and all the wealth is left behind. They think that they can preserve their homes and inheritance to all future heirs and they name their lands after themselves. Nevertheless men no matter how honourable die just as all the animals do. They live lives that are a pointless yet their children think they were very wise. Think about that ! They are laid out in the grave like sheep and corruption feeds on their flesh. (However the righteous will have dominion in the morning. A reference to the resurrection of the righteous and their place in the Messianic kingdom.) The beauty of the dead will pass away in the grave. But the Lord will redeem me from stranglehold of the grave because he will raise me up to himself. Think about that ! So do not be afraid if you are rich! Or when God increases the glory of your house, because when you die you will take nothing with you. There are no pockets in a shroud. The glory of a man does not go with him to his grave. There is no glory in death. While he was alive he blessed his own soul and he was praised by men when he did well, but in death he joins his forefathers and he will not see the light of the sun in the grave. Those men who do not understand this, even if they are men of honour, will still die just as animals do. In the previous psalm the psalmist spoke of the frailty of man and that all me will die but in psalm 50 the psalmist brings before us something of the greatness and transcendence of God. He begins saying God has spoken ! This is a great phrase something that all men should consider. If God has spoken then what he says is of infinite importance. The mighty God has spoken and called on the people of the earth from morning to evening. The Lord has shone forth from Zion the most beautiful place. God will not be silent and a fire will burn up in front of him. He calls on the heaven and earth to bring his people into judgment. He gathers his ancient covenant people together to speak to them. The heavens will declare his righteousness because he is God the judge of his people. Think about that ! In the next few verses we have an outline of OT theology. God speaks specifically to Israel and he could never speak like this to any other people, let alone us NT believers. He says hear O my people and I will speak to you O Israel. And I will testify against you. I AM God Your God. I am not going to criticise you for your sacrifices and burnt offerings. I do not want one bullock or one he-goat. Because every beast in the forest is mine and all the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains and all the wild animals belong to me. If I were hungry – I would not tell you, because all the world is mine and everything in it. Do I need to eat beef? Or drink blood from goats? Then he outlines his requirements of his people Israel. First, bring your thanksgivings to me. Second, pay your vows to me. Third, call on me when the day of trouble comes and I will deliver you and you will give all the glory to me. Then God speaks to the children of Israel that are wicked. He says, What has it got to do with you to preach my laws? And why do you speak of my covenant, when you hate being instructed by me and throw away my words over your shoulder as you pass on. When a thief takes your goods then you enter into argument with him about the righteousness of his deeds yet at the same time you commit adultery. You speak evil things and you make up stories to deceive. You bring your own brother to court and accuse your mothers son of evil. When you did all this I kept silence. You thought that I was a man like you but I will rebuke you and put things in order in front of your eyes. Now listen to me and think about this all of you, that forget God, because if you will not, then I will tear you into pieces and nobody will be able to save you. Listen now – Whoever offers praise to me brings glory to me and to him that puts his life in order, I will save him in times of trouble. This of course is not the christian gospel it is the order of life under the Mosaic law.
- What is the Psalmist saying to the whole world?
- What does the Psalmist say about judgment?
- In what way is this message different to the Gospel?