Page 3 - February 2024 - Truth & Tidings
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oticing their wealth is inescapable.  an empty grave do.
               Media outlets constantly bombard   Also, wealth cannot inscribe names where
        Nus with photos and videos of        it matters most. “They call their lands after
        their mansions, outfits, cars, yachts, galas   their own names” (v11 KJV). The wicked
        and vacation destinations. We can nearly   wealthy might have their names written on
        observe the lives of certain celebrities and   monuments, memorials and museums. But
        billionaires of our world in real time. And   how often have you looked at a monument
        perhaps, in some small way, we envy   without any idea who that person was? In
        them. But they are not to be envied but   contrast, the believer’s name is written in
        rather pitied, so long as either their trust   heaven and will never be forgotten (Luk
        or boast is in their wealth. Scripture does   10:20).
        not condemn wealth; the Lord blesses some   Clearly, wealth can only buy property here.
        individuals with material riches. But it’s   And some affluent individuals have many
        folly to trust them or boast in them. The   properties here. But the unrighteous “shall
        psalmist tells us why: there is such a thing
        as worthless wealth. And our world is   be consumed in Sheol, with no place to
                                             dwell” (v14 ESV). In stark contrast, the
        teeming with trillions of dollars of it.  righteous have a home beyond this life.
          Psalm 49 has a lengthy introduction   The psalmist tells us that the God who
        (vv1-4), which means we really need to pay   dwells in heaven “will receive me” (v15).
        attention to what he has to say (or sing). It is   We have a heavenly home purchased for
        a psalm not just for the people of Israel but   us by the blood of God’s own Son. The
        for “all people” (v1). And it is written not   wicked follow their shepherd (death, v14)
        only for the sake of the wealthy but also the   into the grave. The righteous will dwell
        poor (see v2). The lessons of this psalm are   with their Shepherd “in the house of the
        for everyone, and we need to understand   LORD forever” (Psa 23:1,6).
        the great limitations of wealth.
          For one, wealth cannot ward off death. “No   One of the larger lessons from the psalm
        man can redeem the life of another, nor can   that we need to learn and relearn is that
        he give to God a sufficient payment for him   wealth cannot be taken beyond the grave. The
        … that he should go on living and not see   billionaire and the beggar die with the
                                             same amount of money – nothing. “When
        corruption” (vv7-9 ISV). The psalmist’s
        point is that no one can buy one’s way, or   he dies he will carry nothing away” (v17).
        that of anyone else, out of dying.  But the   And yet, the believer, though leaving all
        very thing the wealthy cannot do (redeem),   earthly wealth behind, can send something
        God does for His people. “But God will   ahead. Our Savior told us that we can
        redeem my soul from the power of the   use our wealth in such a way as to secure
        grave” (v15 KJV). The psalmist does not   treasure in heaven (Mat 6:19-21; Mar 10:21).
        tell us how He can redeem, but a cross and  Indeed, this is the answer as to how to
                                             evade either trusting or boasting in wealth,
        1  Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72: Tyndale OT   and how to avoid the accumulation of
        Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity   wealth that can’t buy anything that really
        Press, 1973), 183.                   matters.

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