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Our Materialism in the Light of our Mortality (Psalm 49)

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Psalm 49 Jan. 27 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by the sons of Korah.  1Hear this, all you peoples. Listen, all you inhabitants of the world, 2both low and high, rich and poor together. 3My mouth will speak words of wisdom, my heart shall utter understanding. 4I will bend my ear to a proverb, I will open my riddle on the harp. 5Why should I fear in the days of evil, when iniquity barks at my heels, surrounding me? 6Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches— 7none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give God a ransom for him. 8For the redemption of their life is costly, no payment is ever enough, 9 that he should live on forever, that he should not see corruption. 10For He sees that wise men die; likewise the fool and the senseless perish, and leave their wealth to others. 11Their inward thought is that their houses will endure forever, and their dwelling places to all generations. They name their lands after themselves. 12But man, despite his riches, doesn’t endure. He is like the animals that perish.  13This is the destiny of those who are foolish, and of those who approve their sayings. Selah. 14They are appointed as a flock for Sheol. Death shall be their shepherd. The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning. Their beauty shall decay in Sheol, far from their mansions. 15But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, for He will receive me. Selah. 16Don’t be afraid when a man is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased. 17For when he dies he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him. 18Though while he lived he blessed his soul— and men praise you when you do well for yourself— 19he shall go to the generation of his fathers. They shall never see the light. 20A man who has riches without understanding is like the animals that perish.   


49:8 It may seem obvious that money can’t buy a place in God’s Kingdom, but whilst everybody would agree to that statement, effectively those who trust in wealth to the exclusion of faith in God are saying just this. The price of redemption is far more than money- it was ultimately in the blood of God’s dear Son.
49:11 We live under the illusion that we are somehow rational, logical and sensible in our decision making and attitudes. But in fact we are not. Human beings can be incredibly stupid and live in denial of the obvious. We shall die and in that sense lose whatever wealth or property we have acquired on the earth. But the inward thought of people is that somehow, that wealth remains personally attached to them after their death. This is a penetrating psychological insight. It mocks at any desire to attain personal wealth which will endure after our death; now is the time to use whatever we have in the Lord’s service.
49:12 He is like the animals that perish- A proof of man’s mortal nature, disproving the myths of reincarnation and life in Heaven after death.
49:19,20 Those who don’t understand God’s ways and aren’t therefore responsible to His judgment will remain dead for ever like the animals.