April 25 2023
Today, Tuesday April 25
Don’t Envy the Wealth of Others
“Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased; For when he dies he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lives he blesses himself (For men will praise you when you do well for yourself), He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They shall never see light. A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, Is like the beasts that perish.”
Psalm 49 is a message warning us about the deceitfulness of riches. Jesus talked about this same truth in His parable on the Sower who sowed his seed on four types of ground. In Matthew 13:22 Jesus said, “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” If we are not careful, we might be deceived when we see a rich person enjoying eminence wealth and think we could be happy or more content or secure in life if we possessed their wealth.
There are several lessons we should learn from Psalm 49. The first one is that wealth cannot prevent death (Psalm 49:5-12). The second lesson we should learn is that wealth does not determine our destiny (vv. 13-15). Today we will finish this chapter thinking about the third lesson we should take heed to and that is we “should not be dismayed when we see the wicked grow rich, and their homes become ever more splendid”. (vv. 16-20).
In other words, we should not be impressed and "over-awed" (niv) when we see others getting wealthy and buying bigger houses and cars. All their wealth will be left behind when they die and ultimately lose its value. They won't be able to praise themselves, nor will they be able to hear others praise them.
We take nothing with us when we die. Job said it this way in Job 1:21; “And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD." Solomon, “the Preacher” tells us in Ecclesiastes 5:13-15 (NLT); “There is another serious problem I have seen under the sun. Hoarding riches harms the saver. Money is put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost. In the end, there is nothing left to pass on to one’s children. We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us.”
The Apostle Paul continues this warning of envying the wealth of others in 1 Timothy 6:5-8 (NLT); “These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” Not only does he warn us, but he also gives us some great instructions along with these words!
We need to always remind ourselves if we have been faithful stewards of what God has given us, we possess eternal riches that will never fade (Matt. 6:19-34). We can't take wealth with us, but we can send it ahead.
The statement in verse 12 that the ungodly wealthy person will “die like the beast that perish”, is repeated in verse 20 with the addition of the phrase "without understanding." The writer penned this psalm so we would have understanding! Remember he said in his introduction in verse 3; “My mouth shall speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding.”
We need to understand that wealth cannot prevent death or determine our destiny, and that we must not become covetous when we see others prospering in this world. It isn't a sin to have wealth, provided we earned it honestly, spend it wisely, and invest it faithfully in that which pleases the Lord.
May the Lord help us to apply the lessons of this chapter to our lives today!