*Below is Pastor Andrew’s teaching outline from Sunday’s sermon, not a word for word manuscript. This is meant as aid in seeing the thought and direction of the sermon.
Psalm 49 ESV
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. Hear this, all peoples! Give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both low and high, rich and poor together! My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre. Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me, those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches? Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit. For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others. Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they called lands by their own names. Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish. This is the path of those who have foolish confidence; yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah 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. But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. For when he dies, he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him. For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed —and though you get praise when you do well for yourself— his soul will go to the generation of his fathers, who will never again see light. Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
Famously quoted in Dead Poet Society
Carpe Diem comes to mind, a call to seize the day.
In this moment Robin Williams character is trying to get his student to think bigger. In many ways he is attempting to entreat them to wisdom.
Applying the Knowledge, they derive from what they read.
There are 150 psalms, and it is hard to be familiar with all of them and some then to just strike us more evenly in the heart or bring comfort in the midst of a dark season of the soul.
Today as we continue in our Psalm summer, we will explore a very peculiar Psalm.
It is the last Psalm of the 1st collection of the Sons of Korah.
It is a Psalm of wisdom. Unlike any other psalm
It reads closer to the words of Ecclesiastes in the framework of a proverb than the psalms we are acquainted with.
It is a call to remember our mortality, and in that understanding trust in the Lord alone.
Herricks poem is the reminder that life is fleeting
(Though in this fame he encourages us to fill each moment with lasting experiences, carpe diem)
Our Psalmist will speak wisdom by speaking to the fleeting nature of life as both a hopeful reality that frees us from fear and a striking truth that should lead us to wisdom.
For as the book of Proverbs reminds us:
Proverbs 1:7 ESV
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Each of the books of wisdom literature found in scripture seek to teach and train us about being wise in this life, seeking to love the Lord and trust in Him:
Proverbs- All of life
Job -The reality of suffering
Ecclesiastes – The world is broken by sin, fear the Lord
Song of Songs- Love and marriage
So, as we dive into this text we see much of Job and Ecclesiastes Summed up in these verses:
So, lets dive in:
I. Listen Well (1-4)
Psalm 49:1–4 ESV
Hear this, all peoples! Give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both low and high, rich and poor together! My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.
The Psalm before us opens with a call to Listen:
We are being called from all corners of the World to hear the truth to be proclaimed.
This is not a word for the people of Israel alone, it is not a word for those outside Israel, the Psalmist calls all of humankind to hear the words being spoken:
-Hebrew is Sons of Adam, Sons of Abraham. Rich & Poor, High born and low.
-The words spoken are a universal truth, as such they should be headed and listened
-These words bind all people together. No one can escape the truth he is about to make plain.
-He is coming forth to speak wisdom so that Mankind can know and understand.
He is in many ways about to explain to us the truth of the concluding phrase of Psalm 48: 14
Psalm 48:14 ESV
that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.
Here we see an issue with English translating that seeks to remove some aspects of context when it comes to the Psalms.
Many have an asterisk here that states the here phrase is beyond death, not forever.
The question before us is How is God our Guide beyond death?
Context is important even in the psalms, they are not randomly thrown together.
Who is it that God guides Beyond death?
-The rich, those of high office, the poor, the needy?
-The psalmist hears puts to song his answer. Gives us wisdom through verse, as they say he is about to drop some knowledge.
So, to music he sets his answer that it may be remembered, much as we teach children songs to help them things in school.
So, to music he turns and with him we are drawn n to hear the song that in so doing we may be instructed in the truth and walk in it, training others in this song:
II. Fear Not (5-12)
Psalm 49:5–12 ESV
Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me, those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches? Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit. For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others. Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they called lands by their own names. Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.
The first refrain beings with a triumphal statement:
Why should I fear in times of trouble?
-When the wicked prosper and those who use their wealth for evil are given every advantage.
The psalmist sets forth those in the world who have much and seem to use their wealth for their own advantage at the destruction of those around them as those often feared.
Throughout history this was often the case: wealth and position often left you free from the powers that be. It was easy to escape justice and even easier to enact your own evil schemes against those without.
But we see clearly the wisdom is that anything we would fear form them can only be temporary, they have no real eternal power in their wealth. For death comes for us all:
Fear is driven out by the reality of death.
Luke 12:4 ESV
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.
Matthew McCullough wrote a book called Remembering Death:
In our time and place, death isn’t something we think about very often, if at all. . .. I’m writing to convince those living like immortals that they’re not actually immortal. . .. I’m writing to those for whom death feels remote and unreal—something that happens to other people.
In our day and age, we avoid often the topic of death, and its reality that is always before us, but for most of us it is somewhere else, someone else it is not a reality we linger on or dwell on, for some over the last two years it may have at one point, or another been brought back in to focus, or driven further away.
But our psalmist reminder us of this very truth: death is the great equalizer:
Even more so he reminds us that the wealth and power we have gained on earth are of no value to ransom us from this truth:
Jesus reminds us of this in Luke 12:13-21
Luke 12:13–21 ESV
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
What we see is that when death comes there is no amount of money that can save you from it, as much as men try to prolong death with wealth the prolong but the inevitable truth.
It’s a wonder today that things have never really changed. Wealth cannot purchase the eternal state mankind seeks. He seeks immortality but ends up in the grave every time. And so, what has wealth purchased, man =kind is vain to believe otherwise.
We know this truth and yet there is a pull it seems to try and defy it. Spurgeon tells the story of a rich man who had purchased vast amounts of land to grow his wealth and name, but there was a small plot that he could no acquire because it was owned by an old farmer. He waited till the old farmer was in financial trouble and tried to purchase the land, but the man was able to secure his property with hat the man said that this old man could not live forever and when he dies, he would finally acquire the land and complete his goals. The old farmer was 58, the Rich man was 60.
Point being it is not solely the thinking of the young that they will live forever, but the distracted mind of mankind, especially those who trust in wealth.
the whole world could be theirs, think about it all the lands, schools, buildings, named after people, and yet they are no less dead. the legacy of a name remains, but they do not possess it nor have control over it.
they have perished like the beast of the field into the ground.
So, in wealth we see no future then why do we cling to it as if it would sustain us? Or why do we fear those who have it as if it brings them lasting and eternal peace.
For only God can bring such things, thus the Psalm reminds us to fear not and to be wise:
III. Be Wise (13-20)
Psalm 49:13–20 ESV
This is the path of those who have foolish confidence; yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah 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. But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. For when he dies, he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him. For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed —and though you get praise when you do well for yourself— his soul will go to the generation of his fathers, who will never again see light. Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.
He calls us now to be wise:
Death is the end for those who foolishly trust in wealth. Not only for those who have it but for those who wish to have it and pursue it.
Those who believe in the power of wealth as the means for eternal joy.
Yet they all like sheep being led by the Shepherd of death. to their end.
The song here takes a gruesome turn for the actual idea here is that death itself feast on them till nothing remains. they are but food to death.
Rev 7, has a different image for those who trust in Christ:
Revelation 7:17 ESV
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
For the Righteous God is our shepherd.
Psalm 49:15 ESV
But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah
There is a bold confidence in the words of the Psalmist, and he is calling all to hear these truths,
A truth Peter echoes in his letter:
1 Peter 1:17–20 ESV
And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
Here we see the Gospel truth in our Psalm a truth echoed in all scripture there is a hope beyond the grave found in the righteous of Christ.
The bold assurance should be ours. In a world seeking to either prolong its days through wealth or explore all the pleasures possible by means of wealth. We have a true and lasting wealth fond in Christ.
The remainder of the Psalm reflects back on the truth that there is no hope in this world apart from God.
Yet they are blind to these truths. Living once only to die Twice
For us here today I hope we take the worlds of the psalmist to heart, we ho have Christ have nothing to fear those who don’t. All the more we should not desire to become like them, there pursuits all end in eternal ruin, while those who fear the Lord and trust in Him, finding contentment in the gifts of God have a security that cannot be shaken.
1 Timothy 6:6–10 ESV
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.