Psalm 49

The inspired authors of the Psalter often deal, not only with issues of praise, singing, prayer, worship and personal communion with God, but also with very practical issues of every-day life, such as worry, anxiety, physical pain and fear. “Why should I fear?”, the Psalmist asks himself here in Psalm 49.

I wonder why also. Why should I, or any Christian, fear? It is obvious that unbelievers are often dominated by fear and rightly so, since they have a lot to fear. Their fears are based on reality and what is true. Unconverted people fear men, the opinions of others, peer pressure, the future, the uncertainties of life, social and national calamities, and all kinds of things. Women fear mice or cockroaches. Men fear losing their hair or failure. Young girls fear not being popular or accepted. People in society really fear the future, whether they will have enough provision, whether welfare will fail them, and what will become of their inheritance.

The point is, life is filled with opportunities for fear. The very air we breathe in this society and the current international situation lends itself to fear.

But the sons of Korah, here in this Psalm, ask the legitimate question, “Why should I fear in times of trouble?” Good question. Why should I fear, why should you fear, if you are a child of the true and living God, who is your Father? Why fear? What do we have to truly fear?

Men often think that the rich people of this world don’t fear things because, it is presumed, they have nothing to fear. But nothing is further from the truth. In vss. 6-14 show, we are told that the wealthy of this world have everything to fear. Here are just a few things–

1. They TRUST in their wealth (vs. 6)
2. They BOAST of their abundance (vs. 6)
3. They CANNOT give any amount of ransom for their life’s eternal existence (vss. 7-9)
4. They WILL die and perish (vs. 10)
5. They will NOT take their wealth and great possessions with them into eternity (vss. 10-11)
6. Their legacy is temporal – limited to this brief life (vs. 11)
7. Their legacy is only earthly – “they call their lands by their own names” (Hilton Hotels, Trump Towers, etc)
8. They have foolish confidence (vs. 13)
9. They are appointed for eternal destruction (vs. 14)

Lost men have a great deal to fear–God, divine wrath, final judgment, eternal torment, and eternal damnation. Why should they not fear? This life is the nearest thing to heaven they will ever see and this life is the nearest thing to hell a Christian will ever see.

Times of Trouble

The Psalmist here speaks of “times of trouble.” The reality is, there have always been times of trouble. There has been in every generation troubling things, troubling times and circumstances. There are always things that can trouble us. Men’s hearts have always been failing them because of fear. But for the Christian, nothing need trouble us, if our trust in in the living God. Times of trouble have always been and will always be, and these are not to “rustle our feathers” or rob us of eternal certain and joys. We ought not to fear in times of trouble.

Why should Christians never fear?

1. Because our greatest reality is yet to come.
2. Because our greatest joys are yet to come.
3. Because rest and release from every sin, sorrow, pain and grief is soon to come.
4. Because we have a Heavenly Father who knows, loves, cares, and rules over all things, especially over the fearful things of the future.

Why should I fear? I shouldn’t, if I truly believe the truth and am resting in the wisdom of my God and Saviour.

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause, for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best;
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Power.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure”,
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord;
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a Father’s hand;
One by one the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land. – (Oscar Ahnfelt – 1813-1882)

– Mack Tomlinson

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