Summary: Malcolm Forbes was attributed to say, "The one who dies with the most toys wins." Herein is the problem, he who dies with the most toys still dies, then what? What do we have in store for all eternity? But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave!

But God …

God intervenes in the history and in the affairs of man. We don’t always agree or understand with what God does, but God’s ways and our ways are different, God’s thoughts and our thoughts are different.

Isaiah 55:8–9 (NKJV) 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

But we …

We, as the human race has always thought we knew better than God. Subconsciously I often think, If only God could just see things from my point of view. My kids tell me I just don’t understand. That I know nothing. Believe it or not I was a teenager once upon a time. I’ve been around the world, and I know and have seen a thing a two. And because of my vantage point of age and experience, I can see just how little my kids really know.

As I was growing up, there was that age when I though my parents knew everything. As I hit my teen years, the perspective was that my parents were as dumb a rocks. But as I progress older into my 20’s, my parents started becoming smarter and smarter and smarter and really knew about the things of life.

My mother died about 22 years and my dad died 8 years ago. I greatly miss them both. There are so many things I want to ask their advice on, even today.

As I grow old, I realize more and more that God really did have a plan for my life and it was better than anything else I could dream up for myself. I’m beginning to understand more and more that the important things in life are eternal. Despite what the world may do to me, one thing I know: One day I will be with Jesus. But God will redeem my soul. Psalms 49 brings that out.

ILL: For more than 600 years, the Hapsburgs held great political power in Europe. When Franz-Josef I, the emperor of Austria, died in 1916, his was the last of the very extravagant imperial funerals. A processional of dignitaries and elegantly dressed members of the imperial court escorted the coffin draped in the black and gold imperial colors. The funeral procession descended the stairs of the Capuchin Monastery in Vienna accompanied by a military band playing somber dirges. At the bottom of the stairs was a large iron door leading to the Hapsburg family tomb. Behind the door was the Cardinal-Archbishop of Vienna.

The officer in charge followed the prescribed ceremony established centuries before. "Open!" he cried out. "Who goes there?" responded the Cardinal. "We bear the remains of his Imperial and Apostolic Majesty, Franz-Josef I, by the grace of God Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, Defender of the Faith, Prince of Bohemia-Moravia, Grand Duke of Lombardy, Venezia, Styrgia..." The officer continued to list the Emperor’s thirty-seven titles.

"We know him not," replied the Cardinal. "Who goes there?"

The officer spoke again, this time using a much abbreviated and less ostentatious title reserved for times of expediency. "We know him not," the Cardinal said again. "Who goes there?"

The officer tried a third time stripping the emperor of all but the humblest of titles, "We bear the body of Franz-Josef our brother, a sinner like us all!" At that the doors swung open and Franz-Josef was admitted. [1]

Death is the great equalizer. One day, short of Jesus return, we all will die. But in the meanwhile, we often wonder why do the wicked prosper and those that are righteous and know God, why do they suffer? We must consider things from God’s perspective. When we consider that we all die in the end, those who know God and are known by Him (we, in our NT testament perspective would say “save by the blood of Jesus”) we will be rewarded in eternity. We must have an eternal mind set to put things in their proper perspective in the here and now. Psalm 49 expounds on this.

Psalm 49:1–4 (NKJV) 1 Hear this, all peoples; Give ear, all inhabitants of the world, 2 Both low and high, Rich and poor together. 3 My mouth shall speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding. 4 I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will disclose my dark saying on the harp.

What the Psalmist is announcing is for all to hear, For those in high society or those held in low esteem, for the rich and for the poor. The question he asks is like a riddle.

Psalm 49:5 (NKJV) Why should I fear in the days of evil, When the iniquity at my heels surrounds me?

The NIV says “Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me?” The rest of Psalm 49 answers that question.

Psalm 49:6 (NKJV) Those who trust in their wealth And boast in the multitude of their riches,

The psalmist is referring to the to those that always seem to get ahead. These are not always bad people but these are those whom the culture and world at large always seems to admire. Those who made it big. For others, they may have been given their riches and was born with a silver spoon in their mouths. What has God to say to those with lots of wealth?

Jeremiah 9:23–24 (NKJV) 23 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.

Our glory, our wealth ought to be only and solely in the Lord. Any wealth he has blessed us with, should all be used for His glory. The fact of the matter is, very few people know how to deal with wealth; wealth defined as an excess of money and material goods that exceeds their needs, fulfilling their wants. Many with an excess of wealth only seem to want more. There are many who live in million dollar homes, drive the latest model cars, take expensive vacations, that are living paycheck to paycheck, well in debt beyond their ability to pay off. But that is not where I’m going this morning. Stuff, does not define who you are. In the end, it only matters who you are in the Lord.

Psalm 49:7–9 (NKJV) 7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him— 8 For the redemption of their souls is costly, And it shall cease forever— 9 That he should continue to live eternally, And not see the Pit.

It matters little how much you have. You cannot buy your way into heaven, not can you buy any son, daughter wife, or friend into heaven. Earthly wealth is meaningless to God.

Psalm 49:10–12 (NKJV) 10 For he sees wise men die; Likewise the fool and the senseless person perish, And leave their wealth to others. 11 Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever, Their dwelling places to all generations; They call their lands after their own names. 12 Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain; He is like the beasts that perish.

Malcolm Forbes (arguably one of the wealthiest men who ever lived) was attributed with saying, “The one who dies with the most toys wins.” Herein is the problem: The one with the most toys still dies and then what? Like the beast or animal that dies, we’re put into the ground and eventually become dust, food for worms. God told Adam in the garden after the fall, “From dust you are, to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19b). Rich or poor. Those with honor and those without. All die. Jesus said :

Mark 8:36 (NKJV) For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

Things of this earth are only temporary. Whether good or bad, everything in this life will one day pass away. Then what?

Psalm 49:13–14 (NKJV) 13 This is the way of those who are foolish, And of their posterity who approve their sayings. Selah 14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; Death shall feed on them; The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; And their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling.

All will go away, some will be remembered, others forgotten. But there is something beyond the grave. The fools trust what they have in this life. But what about those who have put their trust in God? But God …

Psalm 49:15 (NKJV) 15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me. Selah

The grave has no lasting power over those that are in Christ. All things in this life will pass away, but those in Christ Jesus will reap an eternal reward. Paul writes to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 15:54–55 (NKJV) So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”

So how are we as Christians, safe and secure in Christ, with our eternal future secured look at the world around us when it seems the wicked are getting ahead and we are suffering?

We are not to be afraid of them. Jesus said:

Matthew 10:28 (NKJV) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

We who belong to Jesus must have an eternal mindset. For the rest of the world, the remainder of this Psalm 49 is a reminder that all one has in this life, and all that they are, will go away at death.

Psalm 49:16–18 (NKJV) 16 Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased; 17 For when he dies he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him. 18 Though while he lives he blesses himself (For men will praise you when you do well for yourself),

Many will have the praise of men in this life, but do they have the praise of God? What will the praise of men get for them in eternity?

Psalm 49:19–20 (NKJV) 19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They shall never see light. 20 A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, Is like the beasts that perish.

Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 6:19–21 (NKJV) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Where are our treasures? Treasures on this earth will perish. The world around us may be having much gains, and much of may be at our expense. We know of those that are suffering for the cause of Christ around the world. Where are their treasures?

The world my beat us down and take all that we have.

Psalm 49:15 (NKJV) But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me.

Has God, through the blood of Jesus, redeemed your soul?

[1] From a sermon by Scott Chambers, "Jesus: Back Home In Nazareth" 6/29/2009.