A Proverb in Song: part 15

“Man is in his splendor, yet he does not understand;

he has become the same as beasts which are silenced.”

(Psalm 49:21 {Psalm 49:20 in English Bibles})

 

  The psalmist brings this parable in song to a close with these words.  Man in all his splendor—his creations, his art, his architecture, his music, his culture, etc…–will pass into dust—will be silenced by the grave.  There is no amount of accolades that will ever begin to impress God, nor any praise of men that will mitigate the pains of hell—apart from a relationship with Christ, all is forever lost.  To the believer, this is a truth that we know all too well.  To the unbeliever, this is a riddle.  They cannot understand why God would not simply welcome all kind and good people into his eternal abode, and that is because they do not understand sin and the enmity that sin creates in the heart of man toward a righteous and holy God.  They do not understand that they cannot impress God by their actions, for their actions are corrupt and tainted by sin.  They do not understand that apart from the life-giving work of the Holy Spirit, they are decayed and wretched corpses, hideous in the sight of God.  They do not understand the price paid by Christ to redeem a people to himself and that the only way to the Father is through the Son.  Oh, to them this is a mystery.  How they need to hear parables like this.  Why, beloved, do we stand assured even in the face of adversity?  Because we know to whom we belong, and eternity has a place in it for us that has been reserved since before time began.  A mystery to the unbeliever, perhaps, but to those of us who have been saved—it is the power of God that has given us life!

Like the beasts of the field, in death, the mouths of the pompous will be silenced.  As dirt is piled over their corpse, their souls will be bragging no more, for they will then understand the awful truth which they chose to ignore in this life—Christ is King and judge and as such will crush his enemies and cast them into eternal torment as the just and righteous punishment for their sin.  What a contrast there is indeed!  Eternal glory or eternal agony—there is no middle ground.  Yet, how often do we listen to those who speak to their own doom in terms of God, yet fail to take a stand for the truth?  Beloved, take the advice of this psalmist and share the mystery of salvation with them.  If they reject it, neither of you are any worse off—you have not lost your salvation and they remain on the pathway to damnation.  But if they hear and listen, then you have gained a brother and sister—sit back and watch what God will do in their lives as he breathes new life into them.  What a blessed work we have been given to do—how sad it is that we are seldom zealous to do it.

Beloved, never lose sight of your purpose in life—to glorify God with the aim of enjoying him forever.  The question that I ask you is whether you are enjoying him now?  If God is worth enjoying for eternity, he is worth enjoying now in this life, yet how often do our lifestyles communicate to those around us that we are truly enjoying God.  Many in the world look upon us and see us as gloomy, depressed people, burdened by laws and obligations.  They do not understand that the reason we grieve sin is because it separates us from that which we love the most.  They do not understand that the law is a blessing to us that teaches how we may enjoy our God better.  All they see are long faces and people who often live a life that is inconsistent with what we profess.  They do not see our joy that finds its source in God.  Beloved, I ask you again, if your aim is to enjoy God forever, how does your life communicate to others that you are enjoying him now?  Does your life convey to a watching world that Jesus is sweeter and more precious to you than all of the riches of this world, or does your lifestyle suggest to the world that religion is a burden to be avoided?

I think of my blessed Redeemer,

I think of him all the day long;

I sing, for I cannot be silent;

His love is the theme of my song.

Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

Redeemed through his infinite mercy,

His child, and forever, I am.

-Fanny Crosby

 

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