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The puzzle: What happens when we die? Do we cease to exist? Is life just about my pleasure now? Or will we face God’s judgement? The solution: God has provided the ransom that brings us out of death into his palace forever. Don’t be stupid. Turn back to God and enjoy eternal life.
Hi everyone, and welcome to training for life redeemed. I’m your host Dan with my father David Jackson Who’s the one who does all the thinking and provides all the information that I just sit here and ask questions. Today we are up to Psalm 49 continuing our series through the Psalms. Dad’s been working hard on these translating them and he reads us his own translation at the beginning of each of these episodes. So let’s listen to that:
0 For the director. A composition of the sons of Korah.
1 Listen to this all peoples
and give ear, all who live in the present world,
2 descendants of man
descendants of a particular man,
rich and poor together.
3 My mouth speaks wise things,
and (my) heart mulls over understandings.
4 I lend my ear to a riddle.
I will unlock a puzzle with my lyre.
The riddle: Limits of Wealth
5 Why should I fear in bad times.
The crimes of those who are out to get me surround me.
6 They are those who put their trust in their strength,
And they glory in the greatness of their wealth.
7 A brother won’t ransom,
a man doesn’t give his bribe to God.
8 The ransom for their life is expensive,
and it is forever unavailable.
9 But he will live on forever,
and he will not see the pit.
10 Because he sees wise ones die together with an idiot.
They serve a brute,
and they leave their wealth to others.
11 The inside of their houses is their dwelling forever.
From generation to generation, they name their properties.
12 A man doesn’t reside with honour.
Like animals he is cut off.
13 This is their way of stupidity.
This way of life is stupid for them,
but those who come after them are pleased with what comes out of their mouth.
The Solution to the Riddle: The Fate of the Wicked
14 Like sheep they are set for Sheol.
Death shepherds them,
and the upright rule over them in the morning.
Their image fades [as they transition] from lofty palace to Sheol.
15 Surely God ransoms my life from the grip of Sheol,
for he receives me.
16 Don’t be afraid when a man enriches himself;
when he increases the honour of his house.
17 For when he dies he does not take any of it.
His honour does not go down after him.
18 For he blesses himself while he is living,
and you praise and do yourself good.
19 He comes to the generation of his fathers.
They will not see light forever.
20 A human with honour but not understanding;
he is like the beasts. They are cut off.
But Dad this Psalm begins with whoever it is that’s writing it, talking about how they’re going to say something that’s worth listening to because they’re so wise.
Is this a wise person we should be listening to start with? Because it doesn’t seem to tell us who it is. It’s kind of God speaking. I mean one influence, it is because it’s the Holy Spirit through whoever wrote it, but what perspective are we taking as it kicks off?
Okay So this is, there are four psalms in the set, in this set: 49, 50, 51, 52. 49 is a proclamation pretty much to the nations, to the world. So we’re using the word Elohim for God instead of Yahweh. And it’s the peoples that we’re addressing and we’re giving them the summons. And the summons is, do you want it, do you want to live in the world with no God and see how that works. Or do you want to come to God and his king and get your life back? So Psalm 49 is going to talk about what happens if you…go down Solomon’s route. Psalm 50 is going to talk more to God’s people who are already committed to him. And then Psalm 51 you’re going to see an example of, King David is one of God’s people and he shows you what repentance looks like. And then Psalm 52, we’re going to go visit Doeg and find out what it looks like when you don’t.
Okay. So there’s that sequence, sort of ABBA.
That’s kind of like, here’s a problem. This is your actual solution And if you don’t take the solution you have this way of going or that way of going…that’s coming up. It’s funny. It aligns really well with a book I’ve just been reading about how to market things…problem, provide the solution, and then show them what it looks like. If either they take the solution or they don’t. Yeah. Because fear is a greater motivator than joy. Yeah basically.
Yeah. Except that in this case it’s going to be grace, or what I call survivor’s guilt. Yeah. when you realize what it costs to save you. Yeah.
Yeah So this Psalm 49 which is all the nations, that’s kind of like a call to basically pay attention to what’s going on. There’s a lot in here about rich people but he compares this. He sees people who are wealthy and he sees people who, yeah the wealthy dies with the idiots.
I think. this is how that comes up a lot generally throughout wisdom literature the idea that, you know rich people, poor people, people who follow God, people don’t follow God, they will die in the end and people will get there. Like Job goes through that. We’ve done Job. Few of the whole. You know, I’m righteous but here I am suffering, the just and the unjust They all suffer.
So, is there anything new with this as we look at this kind of this Psalm and what it says about, you know the wealthy being like beasts and dying and
I think it’s interesting…
I’m assuming David wrote this. It’s in a whole set of David’s Psalms…
But it really. You know, Solomon when he does the… Whoever writes Ecclesiastes basically unpacks this Psalm. If you, he talks in here about a riddle, a puzzle.
And the puzzle is, what happens when you die? And if you’re the peoples, then all you’ve got is what you see and what you see is, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a believer or not a believer, or what you do. You’re all going to end up dead anyway…
And one, this is a great Psalm for talking to, I think, our community. Because you’re walking around the world where everybody assumes that when you die, you cease to exist. Until they get to the funeral. Then when you get to the funeral: He’s up there smiling. He’s out there partying. He’s down here with us. He lives on in this little book that I carry around. I mean. You know, we go into animism and fantasy and fairies. Because the thought of a world where you cease to exist when you die is just, you can’t live in that world. It doesn’t work.
Yup. But you are stuck in that world Once you’ve died. Because this Yeah. Like. There’s a section here about how we can’t pay a bribe to God. Yeah And so you can be wealthy but you can’t take it with you you and tell it becomes useless. Yeah For what happened wherever. Whatever’s happening afterwards you can’t bribe God and say, “Hey if I give you all this millions of dollars, can I now get into heaven?”
And he’s also talking about the fact that, you know under the Old Covenant world, the ancient Near East. families ran their farms together.
So we all own the one block of land. You can imagine in our family, we’ve got four kids. We go out and buy the hundred acres, put a house on each corner, and run a cooperative farm. Put the gym and the library in the middle, and the tool shed, you know, that’d be fun.
But what happens when one of the children borrows money they can’t pay back? Do you then have the bank come and reclaim the whole farm? Well obviously not. The other three have to do something about that, cover the debt. So the nearest male relative pays the debt to keep everybody out of slavery or being thrown out in the street.
The Old Covenant, God’s redemptive plan, set you all up to do that and make sure you never lost your land. And you’ll never end up in slavery, but what if the mortgage is owed to God? Hmm. How can a sinful person, a wicked person, ransom themselves? And he uses the illustration that if when you die you cease to exist your nearest male relative isn’t going to bother ransoming you because why should he waste his money? Yep, on his idiot brother, when, you know, what happens is we’re all going to die and, yep, it all goes to rubbish anyway? So there’s no point to life. There’s no meaning. There’s no purpose.
And this is an invitation. Is that how you want to live? You want us to put those assumptions on the table?
Okay, So then, as the Psalm continues on, the Psalmist, if it’s David, he then is going to switch to the idea of God ransoming him. Yeah. And paying himself, in order to save you from Sheol? Yeah. which is just the word for deadness basically the place where the dead people go Yep. It’s not hell, it’s not heaven, It’s just it’s the grave. You’re dead, it’s wherever the dead people are hanging out together.
Yeah. Whatever story you want to make up. Yeah.
Yeah. So that’s the conclusion he’s going to come to
Your only hope if there’s life after death, and you’re an enemy of God, and you can’t pay this, the price. Your only hope of salvation is for God to pay it. Hmm. So you sort of look at this song like this and you go, How much did David understand of the gospel? He has a couple of specks along the way. From say Genesis 3:15. You know the woman will have a son. The son will stomp Satan on the head. And he will bring God’s people back onto God’s side. Yep. He’ll move the line of enmity. so that we’re all back on God’s side and in the process he’ll get snake bit.
Covenants of Abraham. Yeah, all these promises. The stories of Isaac So he’s hanging on to that but he doesn’t know how it works Hmm. But he knows that God will take care of it. And when we go to the New Testament we find Jesus telling a story like this about a guy that you know was building bigger barns and bigger barns and bigger barns, and dies And then he’s dead. What was the point? And the point is well if you had been like the beggar at the gate, you know he put his faith in the Lord. He may have been poor, but he’s up there in glory. Yep. And you’re down here in the fire, wishing you had a second chance.
So this this is a song that you sing to the world that thinks death is the end of existence. And I think. I think we need to learn how to sing this song to this community we live in. Because there’s this schizophrenic thing happening. On the one hand we live as if that’s true. And on the other hand we can’t stand it.
And so the end result is, you know, I challenged the kids at school: Can you name all four of your grandparents? Yep. And most of the class could not. You have eight great-grandparents. Can you name all eight? No. And I would stand there and say well I’m a grandfather. How many years is it between me and my grandchildren? That’s how long it takes for my name to be forgotten and for you to not know that those people even existed. If we cease to exist, is that how you want to live?
And God gives you this good news, that he will pay the price to give you eternal life.
There’s a summons. And so I love the last line. Can you read the last line of the song?
Oh, the last lines. Just the last little bit
The bit about the idiot.
The be about the idiot’s earlier. Yeah Yeah.
I just love the language. It’s plain language.
Great language for sure. There it is, verse 10, because he sees wise ones die together with an idiot they serve a brute and they leave their wealth to others It…
They’re idiots, they’re stupid. Yeah. They’re brutes, because they die like animals and they cease to exist. Yeah.
Which is the repeated part throughout the Psalm. The whole idea that a human. This is like a beast that he gets to cut off. Yeah. And Dad it’s very clear this psalm points towards Jesus as the ransom payments Yeah. That’s going to save us out of Sheol and give us this new life with God. Do you want to talk about that? Now you want to let that come in future episodes as we go up to like David and stuff Yeah.
He’s delivering this. It’s sort of like, let’s take you from where you are work you through with your beliefs to where they’re going to logically end up and ask you, “How’s that going to work out for you? Is that really where you want to go? Have you ever thought about these assumptions that you’re living in life on? And do you want to rethink them given that God has got a message for you and the invitation for you? He will ransom you. He will give you eternal life. Put your faith in him.”
And now, from David’s perspective, now I don’t know how he’s going to do that, but I know in his word he has promised to do that. And that’s going to take us over to Jesus. Now on the other hand we’re going to have a look at what happens if you want to hang onto those beliefs. What sort of a person do you end up being What sort of a world do you want to live in? And the answer is if you’re going to be a beast that dies and ceases to exist it’s dog eat dog, and we’re going to visit him in Psalm 52.
All right. Well, let’s finish off this episode. Thanks Dad For All your insights here into Psalm 49. If you want to grab the study days to go along with this episode you can head over to training for life redeemed.com/ 1 0 5. And make sure you come back and join us again Next week we’ll hit Psalm 50 together. Yep. And we will dive into what’s that calling one? Can’t remember, this is the call of the name of the call of God people, God’s people all to God’s fleet. Quarter of God’s people will be out next one.