Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Way of Death

As I read this morning, I am reminded from Psalm 49 much about the wisdom of the Lord.  Actually, this Psalm is a Psalm of wisdom which addresses a common thread in all of humanity, that thread being death.

 [49:1] Hear this, all peoples!
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
[2] both low and high,
rich and poor together!
[3] My mouth shall speak wisdom;
the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
[4] I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.
(Psalm 49:1-4 ESV)

First, the Psalmist identifies for whom this Psalm is written, "Hear this, all peoples!"  This Psalm is for everyone and we should lend an ear to hear.  Not only is this Psalm for everyone the Psalmist continues to clearly articulate that this Psalm is speaking to ALL types, the poor and the rich.  This is a Psalm regarding wisdom and we should incline our ears to listen.

[5] Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me,
[6] those who trust in their wealth
and boast of the abundance of their riches?
[7] Truly no man can ransom another,
or give to God the price of his life,
[8] for the ransom of their life is costly
and can never suffice,
[9] that he should live on forever
and never see the pit.
(Psalm 49:5-9 ESV)

Secondly, the Psalmist writes that the reality in life is no matter the circumstance, even when those around us "cheat us" and it seems like the rich and wealthy are only getting more; NO MAN ESCAPES DEATH!  I love that phrase in verse 7, no man can ransom another or give to God the price of his life.  Nothing we can do pays our debt to the Lord.  We are born, unable to earn our way, ransom our way or buy our way into heaven and the ultimate end to each man's life is death.

 [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.
(Psalm 49:10-12 ESV)

Thirdly, even the ones who trust in God and seek His ways and His wisdom will undoubtedly face death.  All must perish.  To be real honest, this does not encourage me.  However, the full counsel of the word of God is needed in times like this.  What we must recognize is that a life apart from Christ, this life we live is what we live for and focus all of our efforts towards.  A life apart from Christ will lead to a distorted view of life, a distorted view of God, our view of Jesus and the gospel will be distorted.  We have to recognize and always remember, we do not define God, we do not define His son, His Word defines Him!  Our feelings and emotions cannot get in the way of our view of God but God is who He says He is and He does not need our help in defining Himself!  In verse 12, man in his pomp (his pride) will not remain.  All men will perish.  That leaves one to contemplate eternity.

 [13] This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah
[14] 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.
[15] But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
for he will receive me. Selah
(Psalm 49:13-15 ESV)

Next, the unfaithful are identified as the ones that place foolish confidence in the approval of men.  These, however are as sheep appointed to Sheol and have no place to dwell.  Often I struggle with the desire to be approved by man when in reality because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ and my trust in Him, HE WILL RANSOM my soul according to verse 15.  I need not the approval of man, I am already approved in Christ.  I am justified by HIM!  Now that is HOPE.  My life surrendered to HIM and my trust in Him that what He says He will do is my ONLY chance at an eternity spent with Him.  I am trusting in that!  I am so reminded and thankful this morning for Jesus and I want to ask, "What do you trust in?" According to the way you live your life, by the demonstration of your life, what would others think about where your trust lies?  (I am very convicted by this)

That is why the gospel is so important and displaying the gospel, living the gospel, declaring the gospel is a must.  The gospel should be our life because apart from Jesus Christ, we not only suffer the death in this life but we live on in eternity separated from the Father, the giver of life, FOREVER!

The Psalmist concludes;

        [16] Be not afraid when a man becomes rich,
when the glory of his house increases.
[17] For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
his glory will not go down after him.
[18] For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed
—and though you get praise when you do well for yourself—
[19] his soul will go to the generation of his fathers,
who will never again see light.
[20] Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.
(Psalm 49:16-20 ESV)

No matter how wealthy the rich become, we carry nothing with us.  Many that are wealthy count themselves blessed and are praised by others but the Psalmist reminds them, and us, that the way in this life is death apart from Christ.  A man without this understanding perishes apart from the LORD.  A great reminder of the need to be certain of what I believe, can I explain it and am I living this out personally and am I leading my family to live this out as well.

Some thoughts this morning on Psalm 49.

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