Psalm 49 is a sobering psalm as the writer addresses all people. “Hear this, all peoples! Give ear, all inhabitants of the world”. It applies to every man, woman and child on the planet. And it deals with the things of this earth, and the life that comes after. If we want to consider a passage that addresses the reality of life and legacy, this is a good one. It is clear that it is a proverb that gives clarity and direction of the reality of the future. This psalm touches the high-water mark of Old Testament faith in a future life.
Many “trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches” but the reality is that they will die just like everyone else. “For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others”. Death is coming. It is not optional. And wisdom or money won’t impact it at all. As the old saying goes, ‘you can’t take it with you’ and scripture is clear that no matter what our standing or place on this earth our stuff stays behind when we die. We won’t be taking it along.
The writer is clear that we won’t be staying either. “Man in his pomp will not remain”. It doesn’t matter how confident or cocky we are about life, we’re going to die. That is absolute and certain. “Death shall be their shepherd”. And when we die, there will be a day of reckoning where we’ll stand before God and give account for our lives. We will stand before God. And we’ll have to address our sin and falling short of God’s requirement – to live a perfect and holy life. We’re going to fail the entrance requirement. That is, unless we have Jesus covering us with His shed blood on the Cross. If we’ve accepted Him as Savior and Lord God won’t even see our sin but only the blood of the Lamb. That will be our entrance pass.
Life is not about what we accumulate. “For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him”. Life is about what we do with what God has entrusted to us. We will die, and our legacy will be determined by how we lived, not what we gained. “For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed, – and though you get praise when you do well for yourself – his soul will go to the generation of his fathers, who will never again see light”. We might think the scorecard is about the stuff we gather but it is not related to that at all. God cares about one thing – people – and He wants us to pour life into those in our patch and help them walk closely with Him.