April 24 2023
Today, Monday April 24
Wealth Does Not Determine our Destiny
“This is the way of those who are foolish, And of their posterity who approve their sayings. Selah
Like sheep they are laid in the grave; Death shall feed on them; The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; And their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me. Selah”
Psalm 49 is a sermon. It is a message warning us about the futility and vanity of thinking that wealth can buy you happiness or even life itself. There are several lessons we should learn from Psalm 49. The first one is that wealth cannot prevent death (Psalm 49:5-12). It isn't a sin to be wealthy if we acknowledge God as the Giver of everything we have. God gives us wealth to help others and glorify His name (1 Tim. 6:7-19; Matt. 6:33).
The second lesson we should learn is that wealth does not determine our destiny (vv. 13-15). When Jesus told His disciples that it was hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven, they were astonished; for most Jews believed that the possession of wealth was a mark of God's blessing (Matt. 19:23-30). The disciples wondered if wealthy people have a hard time getting into the kingdom, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Jesus reminded them that what is impossible with man is possible with God. But people with wealth tend to trust themselves and their money and to believe the nice things people say about them (v. 13). Wealthy people can get saved and born again if they humble themselves and repent of their sins and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior! There are many wealthy people in the people who got saved such as Zacchaeus in Luke 19, Joseph of Arimathea in Matthew 27:57-60, and Nicodemus in John 3 and John 19:39.
The writer in Psalm 49 pictured wealthy lost people as dumb sheep being led to the slaughterhouse by Death, the shepherd, who would devour them. In Luke 16 Jesus told the story about a rich man who forgot to prepare for eternity. This is what Jesus said about him: "There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' (Luke 16:19-24).
He didn’t go to hell because he was rich or because he didn’t give to the poor. He went to hell because he didn’t prepare to go to heaven by accepting the only ransom that could save him and that was the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not have a Redeemer for his soul.
For the believer, death is only a valley of temporary shadows, and Jesus is the Shepherd (23:4). There is coming a "morning" when the dead in Christ will be raised and share the glory of the Lord (1 Thess. 4:13-18; see Ps. 16:10-11; Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:3). We can't ransom someone who is about to die (vv. 7-8), but the Lord has already ransomed us from sin and the power of the grave (v. 15; 1 Cor. 15:20ff).
When we die, God will receive us to Himself (Psalm 73:24; 2 Cor. 5:1-8; Gen. 5:24), and when Jesus returns, He will raise our bodies from the grave. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 assures us of this: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our decision for Christ, not the possession of great wealth, determines our eternal destiny.