A Proverb in Song: part 11

“This is the pathway of the fool toward them,

and after them, they take pleasure with their mouths—Selah!”

(Psalm 49:14 {Psalm 49:13})

 

This verse ties in very closely with the verses that precede it.  The psalmist is speaking of those who brag in their own works and abilities and how the path of those who do so leads swiftly toward the grave.  There is no eternal hope for those who rely in themselves.  With this in mind, the psalmist arrives at this verse and declares that such a road is the pathway that fools travel.  Indeed, to trust in that which is soon headed for destruction when you seek eternity is nothing short of a fool’s errand.  Yet, the psalmist makes another profound observation.  Even as those who brag on themselves are headed for the grave, there are others who take pleasure in cheering them along.  How it is that those headed for destruction cheer one another along—those heading for the fires of Hell do so with grand celebration in this world.

Oh, beloved, how vain and arrogant the world is!  How they refuse to submit to the truth of God’s word even in the face of immanent death!  And how often they encourage others in their sins.  How the old proverb is true that misery loves company.  Sinners do not wish to go to destruction alone, thus they wish to take others with them.  How many have fallen for the lie of the promise of fleeting pleasure and have neglected everlasting joy that can only be found in Christ.  What a task we have before us, to proclaim as does this psalmist, the truth of God’s word to a dying world. 

One final note on the word, “Selah.”  We really have no idea what the word means, though it is likely a musical term of some sort or another.  Some have suggested that it is used much like we would say, “Amen” at the end of a hymn.  Whatever the word means, it does seem to break up psalms at points or to at least cause us a reason for pause.  In the context of this psalm, it gives a chance for this last statement to sink in to our hearts.  And remembering that this psalm is addressed to the world, it is meant to cause the unbeliever to stop and then be ready to pay close attention to what is to come next—and indeed, the following two verses contain the great contrast between the believer and the unbeliever, but we are getting ahead of ourselves.  For now, let us pray for those which we care about whose path is marked by the fool and whose lips praise the fool in his folly.  Let us pray for them and be a witness to them of the truth of the salvation that is in Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ alone.

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