They All Die

10 For all can see that the wise die,
    that the foolish and the senseless also perish,
    leaving their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever,
    their dwellings for endless generations,
    though they had named lands after themselves. Psalm 49:10-11

The Psalmist is stating the obvious: we will all die; death is no respecter of persons.

Good, bad, rich, poor, famous, unknown, beautiful, not so beautiful. We all die.

By now you’re screaming, “OK, Dave, we get it, we all die. So what’s the point?”

Well, there is no point.

That person across the way who’s been cheating the system?
That man who has been embezzling the company for years?
Those terrorists who go from village to village raping and killing and burning down villages?
That politician who has lined her husband’s pockets for years and years without ever getting caught?
Those people who march in parades flaunting their perversions?

They all have this in common: they will all die.

And then?

And then as Hebrews 9:27 once against states, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

This life is not all there is. It’s a comforting statement for many; and a worrisome statement for others.

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Life’s Too Short

7 No one can redeem the life of another
    or give to God a ransom for them—
8 the ransom for a life is costly,
    no payment is ever enough—
9 so that they should live on forever
    and not see decay. Psalm 49:7-9

The Psalmist contrasts what the wealthy can and cannot do. While, they may be able to buy many tangible things in this world, they certainly cannot redeem someone else’s life.

Often you’ll read about someone who thought they could extend their lives just a little longer if they could come up with the fountain of youth or some magic medicine that will extend their lives. They have the money to spend to hire the best researchers and minds in the world, but they fall short. In a sense they’re trying to buy more time in this life. They are trying to ransom their own life from a certain death, but they cannot do it.

Hebrews 9:27 states, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

People without Christ must face this fact sooner or later. The Fountain of Youth will never be discovered, and while modern medicine has extended life years beyond what our grandparents and great grandparents experienced, those years are not without limits.

Our job, then, is to make the most of each moment we’re here. Life’s too short to hold grudges, harbor bitterness, or to get upset over minor annoyances.

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The Trap

6 those who trust in their wealth
    and boast of their great riches? Psalm 49:6

As a continuation of verse 5, this verse is cautioning us against fearing those who put their trust in wealth. They are referred to as wicked deceivers. Wealth is a trap.

We live in a land of tremendous wealth. There’s a millionaire on every corner it seems. This country rests on the fact that people are wealthy beyond their dreams. Many have worked hard to get where they are and to have what they have. Money in and of itself is not a bad thing.

Unfortunately, money will not satisfy nor will it protect us. It brings with it a false sense of security. It’s a trap if we think it can.

Guard your heart against seeking out ways to become wealthy or thinking that money will satisfy.

It’s a trap if we think that way.

The most pitiful poverty is that of a man who has more than he needs but feels he doesn’t have enough. -Robert C. Savage

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A Rhetorical Question or a Prayer?

5 Why should I fear when evil days come,
    when wicked deceivers surround me— Psalm 49:5

Well, do we have an answer to this rhetorical question? There are people in countries around the world who are having to answer that question, and it isn’t rhetorical for them. The church around the world has been under attack since the times Jesus roamed the Earth. Ruthless tyrants try to stamp out the Church but fail miserably. The governments still try their hardest.

Remember those Believers in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, China, Burma, the Philippines, Ukraine, North Korea, and other nations who are facing stiff and harsh persecution. We don’t like to think of it especially as we wake and enjoy our coffee in nice air conditioned homes, but cruel persecution is reality for millions of our Brothers and Sisters.

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Inundated

Hear this, all you peoples;
listen, all who live in this world,
2 both low and high,
rich and poor alike:
3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom;
the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.
4 I will turn my ear to a proverb;
with the harp I will expound my riddle: Psalm 49:1-4

How often have you been doing one thing and someone starts talking to you but you’re not really paying attention? More often than I’d like I’m afraid. We get so wrapped up in the moment that when something else comes along to interrupt, we don’t want to break away. Then we mindlessly mutter something that may or may not relate to the person’s comments.

In this seemingly insignificant passage, the point of all four verses is clear: pay attention! What follows is important.

What does it take for God to get your attention? Is it a quick reading of Scripture that “quickens” your heart or something more drastic. Often it’s a catastrophic event or a tragedy. We “wake up” and realize that God has been trying to get our attention all along if we had been following the clues.

Part of our inability to hear that voice is focus, i.e., we’re focused on the wrong thing. We get sidetracked. Interesting, even as I wrote this post about focus, I had done three different things before finishing the post!

Slow down.

Listen.

Listen carefully.

Enjoy the ride and don’t forget what’s important.

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