Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 49 – C

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 49

10    For he sees that even the wise die;
the fool and the stupid alike must perish
and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their graves are their homes forever,
their dwelling places to all generations,
though they called lands by their own names.
12 Man in his pomp will not remain;
he is like the beasts that perish.

The psalmist continues with a description of what the rich man observes, the consistency of death, even the necessity of death for both the wise and the fool.

It may be good to remember at this point of the psalm, that a reference to a fool does not describe the IQ of the man, or the educational training of the man, or even the personality of the man, but the man’s attitude or standing in relation to God. Brilliant men, according to this world, are often virulently against any concept of God’s existence and fully refuse to consider God as an authority to answer to. No wonder they seek to avoid the ultimate reality of death.

The psalmist brings to the reader the futility of wealth accumulation, in that money not only provides absolutely no bargaining power in death, but that all the rich man’s possessions remain on earth, distributed to others. All of his efforts in accumulating a resource for self sufficiency becomes a massive disappointment, a final defeat in his philosophy of life, and a failure in rescuing him at a time he needs help the most.

Which brings us back to idolatry, and its effect for both the rich and poor. We so often think of ourselves as modern, enlightened, progressive and intelligent. Yet our modern society has converted the practice of idolatry to an artform, dressed it in a different suit and paraded it about as an ideal. Very few of us physically bow to a statue in the home or a sanctuary in the neighborhood, but if we are trusting wealth instead of the Father, idolatry is still the result.

Let’s take a moment to consider a few verses regarding the the identification of idolatry, it’s powerlessness and the effect on the one who chooses idolatry.

Idolatry – Identified

Col 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Paul is straightforward in identifying idolatry in the book of Colossians and of course it seamlessly reinforces our psalmists theme of money and possessions being the focus of the idolater.

Idolatry – It’s Power

Judges 10:14 Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.”

Although the psalm we are in spends time in describing the effects of idolatry on the worshipper, it is not alone in the Word in providing warnings of the disappointing deliverance of idolatry for the worshipper. The verse in Judges actually challenges those who have followed vain idols to continue to trust them, mocking their worship and abandoning the worshippers to a futile end. This brings us to the effect idols have on the worshipper.

Idolatry – It’s Effect

Jonah 2:8 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.

A man may only worship one philosophy, one ideal, one person. This is an unalterable truth. No multitasking in our worship. Joan is clear in that when we seek after a vain idol, we actually cut ourselves off from God’s love, His steadfast mercy and kindness that we all deeply seek after and need. When we move toward an idol, we move away from God!

Back to Psalm 49, where the author speaks of the wealthy mans efforts of extending his influence (instead of his physical life) into the future, by calling lands by their own name. They seek to be remembered, yet in all of the wealthy man’s efforts, it simply becomes a failed attempt to extend their self sufficiency and self imposed honor on those who are left behind.

The end result. The rich are cut down like the beast of the field, brought to silence and cut off from those they had influence over, those they abused. Earlier in the psalm, the author speaks of the poor man’s fear in the midst of the rich man’s iniquity, and of the cheating of the rich man, how he trusted in his riches (vs 5,6). It seems the fear, though so very real at the time, when considered as the psalmist does, is answered by faith, and is the solution for the believer.

As believers, we must rest on the fact that death is a universal condition for each of us, rich and poor, wise or fools. Many are continuing to rely on their wealth or influence to avoid the unavoidable, even to the abusing of the poor and weak, but this will be addressed within the next 100 years, for all reading this post will have entered that gate, the passage from physical life to spiritual existence.

A day of equalization is coming, when all will realize the futility of depending on any idol in place of God Almighty.

Seek Him, for He is good, all the time!

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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