Monday, May 16, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 49

Psalm 49

To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.

1Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:
2Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
3My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
4I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
5Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?
6They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
 7None 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:)
9That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.
10For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
11Their 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.
12Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
13This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.
14Like 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.
15But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
16Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
17For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
18Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
19He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.

20Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

Chapter 49

Matthew Henry comments on the first few verses by stating the following, "We seldom meet with a more solemn introduction: there is no truth of greater importance. Let all hear this with application to ourselves. The poor are in danger from undue desire toward the wealth of the world, as rich people from undue delight in it. The psalmist begins with applying it to himself, and that is the right method in which to treat of Divine things." I don't have much to add to that, but I am reminded that wisdom is vital in those first few verses. I could be talking to my dad and he could share some words of wisdom, which could be hlepful to me later on in life. And I think it was in Proverbs or something, Solomon wrote that all wisdom comes from God, which means it's valuable and useful. What "and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding" (v. 3) means to me is that I should be aware of when someone is sharing words of wisdom to me. If not I could be screwed for not paying attention and miss out what could've otherwise been useful information for a situation I'm dealing with. I will continue to listen for God's wisdom (v. 4), which is what "I will incline mine ear to a parable" means to me. I pretty much said what had to say about wisdom in verse 3. Matthew Henry comments on verse 5 by stating the following, "In the day of judgment, the iniquity of our heels, or of our steps, our past sins, will compass us. In those days, worldly, wicked people will be afraid; but wherefore should a man fear death who has God with him?" When I first read that verse, it bascially meant to me to not fear the last days. God knows how it's all gonna pan out and He wants me to trust in Him for that. I feel that that will be a real test of faith and endurance in terms of trusting God. If I worry and get all depressed because of apocalyptic events, I'll be discrediting God. And it's never to discredit God, especially if He already knows how things are gonna work out and how they're gonna work out for His glory. I think Henry makes an interesting point about the whole thing where he says that one's sins will compass him or her. I never really though of it the way he describes it, which I think is what makes it interesting. I don't have to worry if my sins surround me if I have accepted His Son and my Lord and Savior since He took my sins upon the cross. And by His grace, I am a Christian. I don't have to fear death -- I suppose death of the soul in this case -- since I have a relationship with Christ. However, I wonder about those who don't follow Christ and if they'll ever accept His love. I could imagine the wordly people being afraid of the fact that they sinned and never came to Christ and regretting their decision in the last days. I'm not saying I'm better than them or anything -- I'm saying that their demise is their own decision unless they get right with God. I personally can't relate to verses 6-7 since I don't trust in wealth to get by. I think that if I did, though, I'd worship and live for money rather than worshipping and living for God. God wants to redeem those who live for money (vv. 8-9). It's a reminder that there's better things to live for than worldly things (Colossians 3:2). Sometimes I'm more concerned about worldy, material things than I am my relationship with God. So I find verses 8-9 to be convicting in that aspect. I can't relate to verse 10, but verses 11-13 show how foolish man can be by giving into riches. "And the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning" means to me that since I've made to right choice by following Christ, I have dominion that rebel against God. I don't have to live as a slave to riches, which is kinda nice.

I think I'll reflect on verses 15-20 now. Matthew Henry comments on the first few verses by stating the following, "Believers should not fear death. The distinction of men's outward conditions, how great soever in life, makes none at death; but the difference of men's spiritual states, though in this life it may seem of small account, yet at and after death is very great. The soul is often put for the life. The God of life, who was its Creator at first, can and will be its Redeemer at last." Since I have accepted His Son into my life, I am thankful that God has redeemed me from hell (v. 15). If He didn't redeem me, I'd probably be hanging out with the wrong crowd these days. I see verses 16-17 as a reminder of the fate of those who have worldly riches and don't live for God. They will wear away and they won't their money with them when they die. There is a reference in the New Testament to verse 17 --  1 Timothy 6:7 -- which says, "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." Yeah...that really goes against the saying that he who has the most toys when he dies wins. I think that verse pretty much speaks for itself, but I thought the reference was interesting and I thought I'd include it. I will say, though, that since I am spirtually rich, I get to experience God's blessings, which I kinda figured upon reading those verses. I think I'm much better off than being spiritually rich than worldly rich because worldly riches have no eternal security. Verses 18-19 continue to talk about the fate of the worldly men and verse 20 is a reminder that I should be living for God because I'll be "like the beasts that perish" if I don't.

                                                Source used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 49". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

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