Paul Honkala | The Voice of Zion June/July 2023 - The Sabbath Word --
Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about? They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself. He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish. – Psalm 49:5–9,15–20
The theme for the second Sunday after Pentecost is perishable and imperishable treasure. What does perishable mean? Perishable means something that will decay or go bad quickly, while imperishable means something that endures forever.
It is not difficult for us to determine what kind of treasure we would want. We all want the kind of treasure that endures forever. When we own living faith we have that kind of a treasure. Faith is a gift of God, and it is the believer’s desire to keep it. However, in order to keep faith, one needs to travel putting sin and doubts away in the name and blood of Jesus. As children of God, we live under grace each day. However, we cannot boast, but rather we fall short of God’s glory, and we fall into sin each day. As children of God, we know that the power to live in faith is the gospel.
Our psalm text was written by the sons of Korah. We remember the fathers of the sons of Korah; they rebelled against God and eventually perished by God’s judgment. The Old Testament relates of this event. The sons of Korah remained believing and trusting in God’s care. When they wrote this psalm they wanted to remind of the dangers of worshiping false gods, such as idols and the love of money. In verse 6 of our psalm, the writer reminds us about trusting in one’s wealth; no amount of earthly riches is sufficient to buy one’s way into eternal glory.
This 49th psalm also reminds us of human glory and its danger. When we begin to think too much of ourselves, or how good we are at something, we forget that God has granted to us all that we have in this life. It is dangerous to rely on our possessions and skills, to prioritize earthly wealth over the spiritual treasures of living faith. The psalmist reminds us that when we close our eyes to this life, we take nothing with us; our money and our vain glory remain here. There is only one matter that is the most important, and that is whether one owns living faith. For that reason, the psalmist wants to remind us of that imperishable gift which endures forever.
We live in a time when riches and things of this world seem to be most important to many. As the psalmist explains, these give the ungodly people a false sense of security. We can say that these matters are not far from us; we also desire the riches of this time. We are also made of flesh and our mind would desire the things of this world. As believers we pray that God would preserve us in living faith and that our priorities would always be in correct order. Faith comes first and all other matters second.