Psalm 49: Hear This, All Peoples!
March 2, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
“Hear this, all peoples!” (49:1). What is about to follow is very important. Will you listen? The psalmist wants to make sure that we hear this, pay attention to it, and give it our full attention. “Hear this, all peoples!”
It is so easy to be distracted, and to only give passing attention to the Bible. Our minds quickly go to what we have just read on a blog or what duties the day holds or what may be the challenges that we are facing. But the psalmist wants us to make a special effort to pay attention.
What are are we to hear? It begins with a question, “Why should I fear in times of trouble?” (49:5). It is so easy to worry or be scared when things go wrong. Especially when those who “cheat” seem to be doing so well. Why not? Why should we not fear for our own circumstances when others, those who do wrong, seem to be so successful in their lives?
Because “Truly no man can ransom another” (49:7). That is, there is nothing anyone can do to prevent himself or someone else from facing the same end that we all must face: death. “Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish” (49:12). People who ignore this reality “have foolish confidence” (49:13). They live as if they will not die.
And what is doubly ironic is that after they die “people approve of their boasts.” Think of all the poets, the rock musicians, and the artists who have made foolish boasts and now are dead, and yet we can quote their sayings with approval—as if the fact that they are dead does not matter! The estates of some musicians make more money after they have died than when they were alive. And yet they are dead! “Death shall be their shepherd” (49:14).
And yet, for the follower of Christ, “But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me” (49:15). How different is the hope of the Christian! The Christian knows that he or she has life forevermore! Their existence and purpose now is one of meaning and joy! So “Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. For when he dies he will carry nothing away” (49:16-17). People “praise you when you do well for yourself” (49:18); still “man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish” (49:20).
In other words (“Hear this, all peoples!”), the follower of God need not fear when he compares himself with people who seem to do well and are famous and approved of, but who do not follow God. Why? Just look at death! Anyone who lives life without an answer to death is living foolishly. But the one who has an answer to death—“God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me”—lives life with meaning and purpose. Therefore, follow God!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
To receive God Centered Life devotionals directly in your inbox, as well as other resources, enter your email address in the form at the bottom of this page and click "subscribe."