Daily Devotional Tuesday 7th February 2023

by William Moody

Psalm 49

Why Should I Fear in Times of Trouble?

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

49:1   Hear this, all peoples!
    Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
  both low and high,
    rich and poor together!
  My mouth shall speak wisdom;
    the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
  I will incline my ear to a proverb;
    I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.
  Why should I fear in times of trouble,
    when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me,
  those who trust in their wealth
    and boast of the abundance of their riches?
  Truly no man can ransom another,
    or give to God the price of his life,
  for the ransom of their life is costly
    and can never suffice,
  that he should live on forever
    and never see the pit.
10   For he sees that even the wise die;
    the fool and the stupid alike must perish
    and leave their wealth to others.
11   Their graves are their homes forever,1
    their dwelling places to all generations,
    though they called lands by their own names.
12   Man in his pomp will not remain;
    he is like the beasts that perish.
13   This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
    yet after them people approve of their boasts.2 Selah
14   Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
    death shall be their shepherd,
  and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.
    Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.
15   But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
    for he will receive me. Selah
16   Be not afraid when a man becomes rich,
    when the glory of his house increases.
17   For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
    his glory will not go down after him.
18   For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed
    —and though you get praise when you do well for yourself—
19   his soul will go to the generation of his fathers,
    who will never again see light.
20   Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.


[1] 49:11 Septuagint, Syriac, Targum; Hebrew Their inward thought was that their homes were forever
[2] 49:13 Or and of those after them who approve of their boasts


This is a wisdom Psalm which speaks of how a poor man is oppressed by the rich but he should not fear the rich (v5). The riches of a wealthy man will not ransom his life to prevent him from one day going down into the pit of death (v6-9). All people will one day die and leave their wealth to another (v10-12).

We are being warned against foolish confidence in wealth (v13-14) because all people one day will be like sheep heading to Sheol (the place of the dead). Even those who boasted of their confidence in their secure position and were praised for this by others will still die.

The hope in death is to have a soul ransomed not by God (v15). Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for many, in him alone we must trust.

Death comes to the rich and their possessions then go to another (v16-20). There is a real challenge about what we spend our time and effort on, which will ultimately pass away. Only that which is done for Christ will last.

Jim Elliot who was a missionary killed for his faith said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”  We must hold tightly to Jesus and not to this world and its riches.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.