It is thought that the forty-sixth Psalms was written for the occasion of God’s deliverance from the Assyrian invasion during the time of Hezekiah. If you will remember the story, Isaiah had been counseling with king Hezekiah as it was quite apparent that the Assyrian army, which was in the process of conquering the world and had conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel, was moving against Judah. Their armies were heading to Jerusalem. Up to this point, the Assyrian army had been invincible. Sennacherib had sent a letter to Hezekiah who came with threats and demanding a capitulation by Hezekiah. The whole while Isaiah was telling him to trust in the Lord, the Lord will deliver you from the hands of the Assyrians.
The day came when the Assyrian army arrived, surrounded the city of Jerusalem and began their siege. Again, demanding surrender but people didn’t like to surrender to the Assyrians because they were so cruel to their captives. They would physically mutilate their bodies. They would cut off their ears or their noses, they would pull out their tongues, they would put hooks through their lips and lead them away captive and thus, history records, when a city was surrounded by Assyrians and they saw there was no escape often there would be mass suicides within the city. Suicide being preferable to being a captive of the Assyrians because they were so cruel.
One morning, when the people of Israel woke up and went up to the walls to look out at the encamped Assyrian army, they saw that the whole army was lying dead in the field. The night before an angel of the Lord passed through the camp of the Assyrians and killed one hundred and eighty-five thousand of the fighting men, wiped out the army. God gave great deliverance and thus tremendous rejoicing among the people of God in Jerusalem. It is thought that this psalm was written as a result of that deliverance by God.
GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (46:1).
They saw the hand of God in their deliverance. He is our refuge, he is our strength, they didn’t have to lift a hand in that battle. God delivered their enemies into their hands.
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; (46:2).
It’s glorious to know God as your refuge and your strength because you do not need to fear either natural or supernatural kind of catastrophes. We, living here in California on the coastal side of the San Andrea’s fault, living over the top of the Newport/Englewood fault and living near the Whittier fault we are subject to a lot of earthquakes. Everytime we have an earthquake of late, they warn us that the big one is coming and they are encouraging us to be prepared for the big one. To have water stored up and have an emergency kind of contingency set because the big one is coming and when that comes there’s going to be tremendous devastation.
There have been those false prophets who were predicting the severing off of this portion of the state of California on into the Ocean. The time that the San Andrea’s makes its correction for its little constant slippage on the plates and soon the correction must be made. There are those who think it’s going to dive into the Pacific Ocean. There have been, at various times, groups of people for fear of this have moved in mass from the state of California. The fear of that has been a benefit in times past it caused The Children of God to move out of California. David, their leader, used to be headquartered in Huntington Beach and he began to prophesy that California was going to be destroyed in a judgement of God. He predicted the comet Hyakutake was going to smack here someplace. Thus they all left and that was pretty good riddance. There have been other church groups that have involved in this kind of hysteria over the prophecies; predictions and visions of the Pacific come rolling down.
It could be that these things are going to happen. When the tribulation comes we do read of tremendous cataclysmic happenings upon the earth. We read that every mountain and island will flee. There will be a tremendous geographical kind of changes of the earth’s surface during that period of time. But if the Lord is your “refuge and strength, he is a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (46:1-2). It would sound as though the psalmist here is talking about that future day when God declared that such would be the case and these cataclysmic changes that take place during the earth during this tribulation period. When God is your refuge and strength you do not need to fear even cataclysmic type of happening.
Though the waters [sea] thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; (46:3-5).
We realize that our time in the earth is of a limited duration. Abraham has said, “Confess that he was just a stranger and a pilgrim” he was just passing through, he was looking for the city of God, “the city which hath foundation whose maker and builder is God”. He was looking towards the eternal habitation of God’s people. We need to keep that in view and in our minds. I’m not planted permanently here. I’m not going to live in this body forever. This earthly tent, the tabernacle, in which I live, is in the process of deterioration. The catabolic forces are doing their work and the body is breaking down under the force. When the catabolic forces are complete and this body returns to dust, I have a building of God that is not made with hands and is eternal in the heavens. That’s where I’m going to spend my eternity.
There is a city of God that I look forward to as the eternal habitation of the saints of God. This earth is not our eternal habitation. The earth will pass away. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, my word shall never pass away”. In Peter he describes how the earth will pass away and the universe. But we look for a new heaven and a new earth, that permanent place for God’s people. Because God is my refuge and my strength and my heart is in the eternal things, not in the present material things, I will not fear though there is a disillusionment of the material because my heart is in the eternal.
There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; (46:4-5)
God dwells and shall dwell with his people in the midst of that city.
she shall not be moved: (46:5).
God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted (46:5-6).
The Assyrian host was the most formidable army on the face of the earth. Everyone trembled at the thought of the Assyrian army. God uttered his voice and they were wiped out. One hundred and eighty-five thousand, that fierce force of men who had bludgeoned the world into submission and who has caused the hearts of people to fear. God uttered his voice and they were removed.
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Come, behold the works of the LORD, (46:7-8).
The people came to the wall, they looked out and they saw all of these corpses out there, one hundred and eighty-five thousand.
Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire (46:8-9).
The chariots were the chief weapons of the Assyrians. Then God responds declaring,
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth (46:10).
Be still is saying is don’t be upset, don’t be fearful, don’t be worried, just be still and know that I am God.
What that should say to us in the midst of a troubled world as we look at the problems of our world, as we look at the problems of pornography, as we look at all these other things that we are prone to get upset about, and rightfully so. We look at the drug problem and we see these billionaire drug lords, their power and we see the seeming ineptness of our government to stem the flood of drugs and we see the menace that it is creating, we see the gangs and the power of the gangs, we see anarchy and we are prone to get all disturbed and upset but God said, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (46:10).
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge (46:11).
This later portion of the psalms surely goes into a prophetic note on into the kingdom age, the thousand year millennial reign of Christ. Beginning with verse eight, as so much of prophecy has what they call the near and far fulfillment. The near fulfillment was God’s desolation that he brought upon the Assyrian army. The far fulfillment of this prophecy goes out to the great tribulation period, the desolations that God will make upon the earth during this great tribulation when there are all these cataclysmic upheavals here on the earth. How that God will bring an end to the wars, “they will beat their swords into plow shears and their spears into pruning hooks”. He breaks the bow, he cuts the spear, he burns the chariot, the weapons of war will be destroyed and Jesus shall reign in a kingdom of peace, a reign of peace for a thousand years upon the earth. The double fulfillment of the prophecy, the near and the far. The near dealing with the Assyrian army being destroyed, the far is when the earth is made desolate during the great tribulation in order to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ and the establishing of the kingdom of God, a kingdom of peace and righteousness for a thousand years.
Forty-seven, the time of the writing of this is unknown but it is thought that it was probably sometime between David and Hezekiah but just when we are not sure.
O CLAP your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the LORD most high is terrible; (47:1-2).
Terrible is an old English word and the meaning of it has changed since the time of the King James translation. So where you read terrible, because of the usage of the word today, you should read awesome. That would be more closely in translation of the Hebrew word. God is awesome.
For the LORD most high is terrible [awesome]; he is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet. He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises: (47:2-6).
Now notice the first verse exhorts us to clap our hands, that is with joy and with glee, and to shout unto God with a voice of victory, triumph. The reason why we are to clap our hands and to shout unto God with a voice of triumph is in verse two, it tells you why. The Lord most high is awesome because he is such an awesome God, because he such a great King over all the earth, because he shall subdue our enemy and because he shall choose our inheritance for us. Then verse six is another command. Sing praises to God and the emphasis is to sing praises, sing praises.
Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises (47:6).
For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding (47:7).
I think that when we praise the Lord, it should always be with understanding. I think that a lot of what people call praise really is not very meaningful. I don’t think that praising God is just a repetition of phrases, sort of stereotype. It’s probably, and I’m just shooting an arrow, because of my background. I grew up in a Pentecostal church where they used to say, “All right let’s all stand and praise the Lord”. The people would begin stand and say, “Glory, glory, glory, praise hallelujah, praise God, Bless God, Amen. Praise God hallelujah, glory, glory…” You could put your mind in neutral and just utter the words. It used to bother me because it wasn’t really praising God with understanding In fact, I often wondered what does God think about it when a person comes up and says, “Glory, glory, glory, glory, hallelujah, praise God, hallelujah, praise the Lord”. They are not even thinking, they are just mouthing words.
Jesus said, “When we pray we are not to be like those who use vain repetitions for they think they will be heard for their much speaking”. In other words, they feel that the prayer has greater affect because of its length. Thus they repeat over and over the Hail Mary’s or the Our Father’s. That also is a vain repetition. You can do that as a matter of just plugging in the Hail Mary circuits, going over it without even thinking. You can go through the words but you really aren’t thinking it, not really with understanding.
I believe that God appreciates when I commune with him that my mind is in gear and that I really think through what I am saying to God. My expressions of praise should be for specific things that God has done or for specific issues and not just a mouthing of meaningless words. As I say, that applies to me and my background. You probably never heard any of that kind of stuff but it does happen. So sing your praises with understanding.
I find that often times, even as we are singing choruses, my mind will drift to the announcements that I’m going to be making or to something else, my new little granddaughter. Here I am singing, I know the chorus and I’m still singing it but my mind isn’t on what I am singing always. The Lord has been catching me up short of this of late. Here I am singing, “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of God” then I cut a neat shoulder on this wave in Waikiki. The Lord will bring me back and say, “Wait a minute. What are you thinking about anyhow?” It’s something that we’ve got to guard against because it’s easy to get into sort of a rote and the worship of God becomes a mindless kind of a thing. In other words, my mind and heart isn’t really in it and that’s not good.
God reigneth over the heathen: (47:8).
God reigns over the heathen and he is King over all of the earth. It is interesting to me how many people like to feel how they are totally independent of God. They have raised their fist against God, they have set their hearts against him and yet, like it or not, God rules over their lives.
God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted (47:8-9).
Sing praises for God is King, God reigns, God sits on his throne for he is greatly exalted, sing praises.
Now Psalms forty-eight is another psalms in which we have the historic background. Knowing the historic background gives greater interest, I believe, greater interest to the psalms.
It took place during the reign of king Jehoshaphat. It is recorded in second Chronicles chapter twenty. You may want to look at that for a moment because this is the background to Psalms forty-seven. We find that Moab and Edom and those of Mount Seir had invaded the land of Israel, Judah. They had entered the land on the southern portion, the Dead Sea area, and they had camped in the area of En Gedi. Now you can move from En Gedi up through the valley you come into the area of Bethlehem. Thus the armies have come into the land; they were at the area of En Gedi. They were on the Israeli side of the Dead Sea.
“And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and called for a fast among all of Judah. So the people of Judah gathered together to ask the help of the LORD: they gathered out of their cities and they came to seek the Lord. And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, And he prayed and said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? You rule over all of the kingdoms of the heathen an in your hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand you?” (II Chronicles 20:3-6).
In other words, Lord you are God you reign over all, no one can stand against you.
“Are you not our God, who did drive out the inhabitants of this land before the people of Israel, and you gave it to these the descendents of Abraham who was your friend, you gave it to them forever? And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,” (II Chronicles 20:7-8).
When Solomon built the sanctuary dedicated it in his prayer.
If, evil comes upon us, as the sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for your name is in this house,) and we cry unto you in our affliction, then hear and help” (II Chronicles 20:9).
So the people had gathered now to the temple. They gather there with their little children and all. The nation was in danger. There was a confederacy of kings; three nations that had gotten together to invade the land. So they’re calling unto God for help. As Solomon had prayed, if they are in trouble, if they are invaded and so forth then if they stand there before you, then hear thou from thy place in heaven, answer their prayer and deliver them. So he said, “Here we are, we are doing” and God said in response to Solomon’s prayer, “If my people call by name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, then will I hear from heaven”. Here they are.
“And now, behold, the children Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, these people that you would not let us invade when we came out of the land of Egypt, and we turned from the, and did not destroy them. Behold, I say, how they are rewarding us, for they come to cast us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that comes against us; (II Chronicles 20:10-12).
He’s asking for the help of God. A beautiful prayer. In fact, I think there is tremendous value in studying the prayers of the Bible. This prayer of Jehoshaphat is indeed a beautiful prayer acknowledging the greatness of God, the power of God and the background of the word of God. In other words, God you gave this land to Abraham and his descendants and you drove out the enemies before us. These people now are coming to invade the land. They are greater than we are as far as power and military strength we are no match for them. So O God our God, will you not judge them? We don’t have any might against this great company.
All of the people of Judah stood there with their little children, their wives and their babies. Then upon Jahaziel a young prophet, God’s spirit came upon him in the middle of the congregation; And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith Jehovah, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (II Chronicles 20:13-15).
Now that’s great because he put the battle in God’s hands. He said, “Lord we can’t do it, you take care of this for us”.
“Tomorrow go down against them: behold, they are coming up by the cliff of Ziz;” (II Chronicles 20:16).
They are coming up from En Gedi through the valley that leads to that area of Tekoa, where Amos came from near what is present day Herodian.
“You shall see them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in the battle: set yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD. And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high. And they rose up early in the morning, and wet forth into the wilderness of Tekoa:” (II Chronicles 20:17-20).
You can see Jerusalem from Tekoa. You can see off the area of Jerusalem, you could see the Mount of Olives.
“and so they went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in Jehovah thy God,” (II Chronicles 20:20).
God had given this glorious promise and now he’s encouraging them. Just believe in the Lord; believe the word of the Lord. He’s exhorting them.
“so shall you be established; believe his prophets, so shall you prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers” (II Chronicles 20:20-21).
That’s a strange way to go to battle. Put the choir out in the front line.
“he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that they should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to sing, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth forever” (II Chronicles 20:21).
Here in front of the army is the choir singing praises unto the Lord and the army comes following.
“And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, they began to fight each other and they began to utterly destroy them and slay them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, then the turned on each other and they started to destroy each other. And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, all of the dead bodies that were fallen to the earth, and none escaped” (II Chronicles 20:22-24).
They wiped out each other. So then they went down and just took the spoil. That’s the background.
One further background that we need to give you is in first Kings chapter twenty-two. Again Jehoshaphat is the king you remember and we read concerning Jehoshaphat in first Kings twenty-two, it also records him there.
“Jehoshaphat made ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went no; for the ships were broken at Eziongeber” (I Kings 22:48).
After the defeat of these armies God began to prosper them and so he thought he would get into the gold business, the precious metals. So he made these ships and they were going to go to Ophir to get gold. Evidently, they got caught in a storm and were destroyed. So I’ll just point that out. Now we will read the psalms and you’ve got the background for the psalms so you know why they are talking about these things.
GREAT is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness (48:1).
God has destroyed the enemy. They stood before the Lord there in his sanctuary on the mount of Mariah, where the temple had been built.
Beautiful for situation, (48:2).
The city of Jerusalem is beautifully situated.
the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King (48:2).
The north side of mount Zion is where the city of Jerusalem sits.
God is known in her palaces for a refuge. For, lo, the kings were assembled, (48:3-4).
Ammon, Moab and mount Seir, they passed by together. They saw it; they got within view of Jerusalem.
They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away (48:5).
They started to flee the sight, the formable walls and all.
Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail. Thou breakest [them as] the ships of Tarshish with an east wind (48:6-7).
Remember in Kings the ships were going for gold but they were broken, it tells us here, with an east wind.
As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it forever. We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple. According to they name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness. Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgements. Walk about [around] Zion, and go round about her: tell [look at] the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death (48:8-14).
What a tremendous vow and a commitment. Unfortunately it wasn’t fulfilled. Judah ultimately turned to idolatry. They began to worship Baal and Ashtoreth and Molech and were destroyed. But Jehoshaphat made the commitment. “Our God, our guide, even unto death. Our God forever and ever”. What a glorious thing to make that kind of a commitment. He is my God forever and ever; he will be my guide unto death.
Psalm forty-nine is a psalm that deals with the rich. Psalm seventy-three, the psalms of Asaph that also deals with the rich. Asaph was looking at it from a little different perspective. His perspective was corrected during the psalm. When Asaph was first looking at the rich and he saw the prosperity of the wicked, it through him a curve. He said, “My foot almost slipped” (Psalm 73:2). I almost fell because they seem to have everything they want, their hearts desire. They are filled with pride, their eyes bulge out with fatness. A full cup is rung out to them; they seem never to have any trouble. They seem to remain strong right up until death. Yet here am I trying to serve the Lord, trying to do the right thing, I am plagued all day long. I have nothing but trouble and problems. These men a blaspheming God, they say, How does God know, is there any knowledge in the most high? And there filthy blaspheming lips and yet they seemed to blessed more than they can handle. He began to draw false conclusions that really doesn’t pay to try to live a right kind of life. It doesn’t pay to serve God.
“When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end” (Psalm 73:16-17).
I got a new perspective; I saw their end.
“Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. But LORD, you are with me, you hold me by the right hand, you guide me with your counsel, (Psalm 73:18-19,23-24).
The new perspective. First of all, envious with the wicked rich until he saw the eternal perspective in the sanctuary of God and then the attitude changes.
Looking at things from the right perspective is so important. Our problem is our perspective of life. We look at things so often from the wrong perspective. We are looking at the problem itself and the more we look at the problem the more the greater the problem seems to grow until it gets so big we lose sight of God. The problem actually seems to be greater than God. We begin to feel that not even God can solve this thing.
Looking at it from the right perspective, from the divine perspective, actually getting our eyes upon God; the more we see, the more we read and study about him, the greater we realize that he is. Until when you come into the true perspective of God, “He’s so great” that you realize that there is nothing, nothing, nothing in this world that can stand against him. So with Paul you cry, “If God before us, who can be against us” because you are focusing upon God and that’s the right perspective for life, not to focus upon the issues, the problems, but to focus upon God.
So the psalmist in the sanctuary of God got the correct focus. That should always be the case, coming to church should always adjust our focus. Away from the world and on to God. That’s why we gather, to get the true perspective and get our again upon God, upon his greatness, upon his power and then we have the strength to go out and face the world because the Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge.
This psalmist has the right perspective from the beginning. He sees the rich, from the beginning, in the true perspective. So he calls for the people to hear.
HEAR this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world: Both low and high, rich and poor, together (49:1-2).
This message is for you, a message of wisdom.
My mouth shall speak of wisdom; (49:3).
It’s a message that’s designed to give you understanding.
My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding (49:3).
The understanding that I have come to receive sitting before the Lord.
I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp (49:4).
With a parable and accompanied by the harp he is going to sing this wisdom that will bring understanding.
Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, (49:5).
That is the days when I am about to die.
when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about? (49:5).
The word heels here is Yakov, the name of Jacob the supplanter, when I am tripped at my heels.
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, (49:6-7).
Another translation is redeem himself. The bulk of scholarship seems to go with the second, can redeem himself.
nor give to God a ransom for him: (49:7).
That is, with all of the money you may posses you can’t buy salvation. It can’t be purchased. Those that trust in riches, that boast of the multitude of the riches, they can’t buy salvation. Money can buy a lot of things but it can’t buy salvation.
For the redemption of their soul is precious, (49:8).
Peter said “We are redeemed not with corruptible things such as silver and gold from our empty lives but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ”. The price of the redemption is precious. It took the blood of Jesus Christ to redeem you from your sin. You cannot, with all of your wealth, redeem your own soul.
One of the many tragic days of the history of the church is when the church began to sell the absolutions from sins. Making a person believe that he could buy his salvation. I don’t know if it’s any better when the TV telethons indicate that you can buy the salvation of your loved ones, fifty dollars buy a soul. I think that’s bordering on blasphemy. You can’t purchase salvation. You can’t give and expect God to redeem your brother or your son because you have given now. They seem to indicate that a gift of a hundred dollars or so, this blessed lady called in and pledged a hundred dollars and her son accepted Jesus. They seem to indicate that by your gift you can buy souls.
(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live forever, and not see corruption (49:8-9).
The redemption, bringing us eternal life, we will not see corruption.
For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others (49:10).
When you die you’re not going to take it with you. When you die you leave your wealth to others; death is the great equalizer. The fool, the brutish person, the wealthy, when they die all of them leave everything. “Naked I came into the world, naked I go out” take nothing with me. But that is not their inward thought.
Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue forever, (49:11).
There is within all of us, I think, sort of that sense of immortality in that somehow we don’t think much about dying. Death is always an appointment that is way off in the future someplace. I don’t think of it as being imminent. I don’t think that on my way home tonight I’m going to get in an accident and be snuffed out. You read about others doing that but you don’t think about that for yourself. We just have that feeling. Especially I think it’s more in young people than I think older people. As you get older you begin to realize that the days are limited and there’s not much time left. When you’re a young person life seems to be stretching out forever.
Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue forever, and their dwelling places to all generations; (49:11).
I’m leaving my mark, going to go on forever.
they call their lands after their own names (49:11).
The Irvine Ranch as one example.
Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: (49:12).
We all die.
he is like the beast that perish (49:12).
The animals die. Man, even those that are in honour die. Those that are wealthy do not abide like the beast that perish.
This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings (49:13).
The folly is that they make no provisions for life after death. All of their energies and all of their provisions are for this life. They spend their lives gaining material things hoping through them to find security. Building up their estates, looking toward those retirement years. When I have enough then I can just finally sit back and relax and live off the coupons. They don’t take any thought of the eternal. They’ve not laid up any treasure in heaven.
When I was back in Philadelphia someone asked me “Are you going to retire? Rumors are going around here that you’re planning to retire” I said, “I have no plans for retirement as long as the Lord uses me and as long as I’m usable”. My body belongs to him. If I see that I’m not capable of functioning properly anymore then I’m gonna stay here in the pulpit and bore you to death with babblings of an incompetent. Yes I will do something else at that time. I’ll go down and talk to the Seagulls.
Yet wisdom dictates that I should lay up something for those years when I may not be able to be as active in the ministry as I am today. Not being on Social Security and not wishing to be a burden upon society I have set up for my retirement. But how long will I enjoy it? I don’t know that I will even enjoy it. I don’t know that the day will ever come that I will retire. I set aside in case that day should come but I don’t know that it ever will. But if it does come, I’m certain it won’t be a long period. I’m certain that as soon as the Lord is through with me he’ll take me. Maybe a year, six months, I don’t know. It won’t be long when the Lord is through with me. “When they had finished their testimony, the Lord took him”. So I’m not thinking of a long retirement but for whatever length of time, let’s give me a break let’s say ten years that I’ll spend in retirement and just be with my grandkids.
All of these years I have been preparing for the ten years that I’ll spend in this retirement state. Wise investments, prudent kind of frugal living in order that I could set aside enough for those ten years. What about eternity? What have you set aside for that? How much have you invested in eternity?
The folly is that people have taken so much care in setting up for their last ten years of their life and yet many of them have done absolutely nothing about eternity. They have nothing set up in eternal value. Jesus said, “Don’t lay up for yourself treasures on earth for moth and rust can corrupt and decay, where thieves can break through and steel. Lay up for yourself treasures in heaven that can’t be corrupted for where your treasure is there will your heart be also”. There are people who are extremely wealthy in the worlds eyes but they are absolute paupers in the eyes of God. When they die, it’s the end of their riches and the benefits of their riches are over the moment of death. When you are lying in that casket, it won’t make one bit of difference to you whether it is a solid gold casket or a pine box. You won’t know the difference. If your family is smart it will be a pine box.
This their way is their folly: (49:13).
They have taken and made no provision for the eternal. My sojourn here on earth is so short, less than a hundred years. I’m going to enter into the eternal no end. The thing is, now is my opportunity to lay up for eternity. Yet people are taking no advantage of this opportunity. They don’t think in the realms of the eternal and that’s his folly. Spending so much effort and time on the temporal, neglecting completely the eternal.
This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings (49:13).
We have all these great quotes from grandpa who left this fortune to the family about working hard, “a penny saved is a penny earned” and “I made it the old fashioned way, I earned it”.
Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling (49:14).
A year after they’re dead they are not very beautiful anymore. They can’t redeem their soul; they can’t buy their salvation.
But God will redeem my soul (49:15).
I’m not trusting money for redemption, I’m trusting in God.
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me (49:15).
Paul, as he writes to the Ephesians in chapter one, lists the tremendous spiritual blessings that we have in Christ and heavenly places. “Thanks be unto God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places”. He has chosen us before the foundations of the earth. As he lists those blessings he says, “For we are accepted in the beloved”. God accepts me in Christ. That is, he will receive me into glory. God will redeem me; he will receive me into glory. What I couldn’t buy for myself God has given to me the glorious redemption through Jesus Christ. Being redeemed by Jesus Christ, I have come into a full life because I’ve come into the life of the spirit. Those who are outside of Christ live in only a two dimensional plane of existence, body soul, body conscience.
The conscience mind of man are absorbed and filled with the body needs. That’s what absorbed his conscience and so he has what the Bible classifies as the mind of the flesh. They do mind, fleshly things. I think about what I’m going to eat, what I’m going to drink, where I’m gonna go for fun and all I think about is the are of the flesh. The Bible says, “The mind of the flesh is death”.
When you are born again of the spirit you then begin to live in the spiritual dimension. Your mind is now controlled by the spirit and the mind of the spirit is life and peace and joy. You come into this full orbed life. Notice life, peace and joy, you can’t with money buy life. You can’t redeem your own soul. With money, as much as you have, you can’t buy peace, as much as you have you can’t buy joy. God will redeem me and receive me.
Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased: (49:16).
When you see a person win the lottery.
For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him, [follow him after the grave]. Though while he lived he blessed his soul: (49:17-18).
He said, “how great I am”
and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself (49:18).
They say, “My, he started out as a janitor and now he’s the president. Hard work, has a salary of a million dollars a year”. Men will praise you when you become successful. What does God think about it? What does God think about you?
He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light (49:19).
Jesus said, “You will be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth”.
Man that is in honour, [has the riches and wealth] and understandeth not, (49:20).
Doesn’t understand the eternal, lives only for the present and uses his wealth for material things.
is like the beasts that perish (49:20).
He lived like an animal and shall perish like an animal. Interesting thought, much too complicated.
Father we thank You tonight for Your word. Let us walk in His light. Give us wisdom and understanding, that we might look at the end of the path to determine where it is leading me before I go so far down the path and there is no turning back. Help us Lord to live in the dimension of the spirit rather than the flesh. May we have that full orbed life living and walking after the spirit. Thank You Lord for redeeming our soul for the precious blood of Jesus. May we not diminish that work that You have done by trying to buy or earn our salvation by our works and efforts. May we receive Your free gift. In Jesus name, Amen.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7181