Death Comes to All
“For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others” (v. 10, Psalm 49, NIV).
Psalm 49 serves as a necessary reminder to us. The psalmist describes the folly of those who trust riches and honors instead of God. He also paints a vivid picture of the fate of every person, reminding us that one day we will die, and nothing we have stored up on earth can be translated beyond the grave. The sober warning deserves our close consideration. While we may think ourselves free from temptations like trusting in riches or holding on to earthly things, this deceptive snare can be easily sprung. We must examine our lives thoroughly and regularly, searching out those areas that we hold in a higher esteem than God’s truth, where we spend more time constructing our physical welfare rather than concentrating on our spiritual health.
If you find yourself slipping into a worldly mentality rather than trusting in God and growing in the gifts of the Spirit, this psalm will greatly benefit you by revealing the misery and foolishness of those who trust in themselves and their worldly gain rather than God. “It is not merely from the intrinsic insufficiency of wealth, honors, or pleasures, to confer true happiness, that the psalmist proves the misery of worldly men, but from the manifest and total incapacity of forming a correct judgment of such possessions. Happiness is connected with the state of mind of that man who enjoys it, and none would call those happy who are sunk in stupidity and security, and are destitute of understanding,” Calvin wrote. Those who sink everything they are into earthly treasures often act as if they will live forever. They do not give a thought to what lies beyond the grave, and they strive to build up their successes here as if they can prevent the inevitable. They deny the truth that their lives can never be extended by any human arrangement one moment beyond the period God has fixed.
Therefore, we should remember that death is the universal lot of mankind, and we should not dream of spending an eternity in this world. Neither should we try to establish a permanent settlement here. Our lives span just a moment in eternity; therefore, look to eternity, trusting in Him who alone can redeem your soul from the grave and take you to Himself.
Read 1 Timothy 6:17–19. What does Paul say is great gain? What does he say about people who want to get rich? Does this mean being rich is wrong? What does Paul say we should pursue? In what ways do you depend on passing riches rather than true riches?
Passages for Further Study
Job 31:24–28; Proverbs 18:11 ; Obadiah 3–4 ; James 4:13–5:3
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