A Proverb in a Song: part 13

“Do not fear that a man should gain riches,

for the glory of his house becomes great,

because he will not take any of it on his death,

his glory will not go down after him.”

(Psalm 49:17-18 {Psalm 16-17 in English Bibles})


You may feel that, after the psalmist has reached the climax of his message, he is going back over the same ground again, perhaps for emphasis.  But do not miss the implications of this statement.  Essentially, the psalmist is looking around at the world and recognizing a fact that believers have noticed for years and years—how is it that the wicked are so often the ones who get wealthy and famous in this world?  With that in mind, he is saying, fear not—for no matter how much wealth they may accumulate and no matter how much fame and glory they may achieve, it is all for naught.  It will die with them.  No matter how you translate “Sheol” in the previous passage, the results are the same once you arrive here—at the grave or in eternal torment, your glory will do you no good—your reputation will not follow you beyond this world.

Yet, do not think that the psalmist is only thinking in negative terms, because he communicates a profound truth if you read between the lines.  The faithful do not concern themselves with earthly glory, but, rather, their glory is God himself!  Thus, not only will God preserve his own through the grave, bringing them into eternal paradise and not judgment, but the glory of the faithful will remain with them—what is more, it will increase!  For in death, we are brought into the presence of God himself, no longer separated by sin from being able to recognize the glory of our God and King!  What a wonderful promise, what a wonderful gift!

The problem is that for many believers, their glory is not found in God alone, but they have become tempted by the culture we live in to seek after the perishable things of this world.  Oh, how often our eyes become turned away from the source of all true riches.  We become burdened by bills to pay, desires to have this or that, and wishes to give our families all the things that our neighbors are giving to their families.  We say, wouldn’t life be so much better if we had this or that…  Yet, one thing leads to the next and we end up on a pathway that leads to seeking after the things of this world with our energies, rather than devoting ourselves to seeking after God and His glory. 

Loved ones, do not fall into that trap.  The things of this world are perishable and will pass away.  They will slip from your hands just as easily as water through your fingers.  And in death, you will take none of it with you.  Yet, beloved, here is the hope that we may glory in—seek after God and his glory and not only will it enrich and bless your life in immeasurable ways here on earth, but you will take it with you—and not only that, if your glory is God in this world, dear friends, how much more will you enjoy that glory in the next!!!  Oh, loved ones, what a wonder of God’s grace!  Beloved, find your joy and your treasure and your glory in God and it will never perish and those things will follow you from this life into the next.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus!

Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free;

Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me.

Underneath me, all around me,

Is the current of thy love;

Leading onward, leading homeward,

To thy glorious rest above.

-Samuel Trevor Francis

About preacherwin

A pastor, teacher, and a theologian concerned about the confused state of the church in America and elsewhere...Writing because the Christian should think Biblically.

Posted on May 24, 2008, in Expositions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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