Be not Afraid
Psalm 49:1-20
Hear this, all you people; give ear, all you inhabitants of the world:…

I. THE PREACHER, (Vers. 3, 4.) He is marked by thoughtfulness. He lends his ear in many a secret place to learn wisdom. His inspiration is from above, and he does not speak of himself, but as moved by Divine impulses. What he has gathered by long meditation and experience he gives forth freely for the good of others. His ambition is to make the dark clear, to discern between good and evil, to strip falsehood of its disguises, and to set forth the truth concerning God and human life with all the clearness and charm in his power. Let such a man stand between God and men, and he has a right to be heard.

II. THE AUDIENCE. (Vers. 1, 2.) The call is to all people, for all are interested. Hearing is demanded, for without hearing all speech is vain. It is through hearing that the mind, the conscience, and the affections are reached, and that faith and all the good things which follow, come. Changes there have been, and changes there will be. The old order gives place to the new. But the subject propounded here is for all time. Rich and poor alike would do well to hear and to consider wisely what the preacher has to say; for it not only has the ring of truth, but it is backed by the experience of the ages.

III. THE DISCOURSE. The subject is propounded (ver. 5). It is implied here that the wicked may become rich, and that they may even use their wealth in ways unjust and oppressive. Might and good fortune are at their command. They pursue their selfish and unholy schemes unchecked. God seems to leave them to do their pleasure. The stronger the hope of the godly that judgment will come, the greater their perplexity at its delay. Here is a dark riddle, which presses heavily on many a heart, and which has often, in evil times, constrained the cry of the psalmist: "Why?" But light will arise to the righteous. We are taught to look at things as in the presence of God, discerning between truth and falsehood, and discovering that, in spite of all the outward shows and splendour of the ungodly, their inward state is wickedness, their prosperity is folly, and their end is death - death without God and without hope. Whereas the godly, though they have their trials, have peace; though they may have little of this world's goods, are rich toward God, and rejoice in the consciousness of a life which will conquer death, and of a hope of glory strong as truth is strong, pure as Christ is pure, and eternal as the eternal God. The arguments by which these truths are enforced are weighty and powerful.

1. The impotence of wealth in the great emergencies of life. (Ver. 7.)

2. The transitoriness of all earthly possessions. (Vers. 10-12.)

3. The degradation of human character through covetousness and pride. (Vers. 13, 14.)

4. The miserable end of the ungodly rich, as contrasted with the happy end of the righteous. (Vers. 15-20.) Hear, then, the conclusion of the whole matter. "Be not afraid (vers. 5, 16). The lessons which this old seeker after truth has set forth are elsewhere in Holy Scripture, and especially in the teaching of our Lord and his apostles, expounded and enforced with a clearness which leaves no excuse for ignorance, and with a charm which should win the conviction of all hearts. As we read the Sermon on the Mount, as we study the parables of the rich fool and of the good Samaritan, and as we grasp the great verities of the Gospels and the Epistles, our faith grows in strength and our courage in fervour, and looking unto Jesus, and to the joy set before us, we are able to say to ourselves, in the most evil times, Be not afraid." - W.F.

Parallel Verses
KJV: {To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.} Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:

WEB: Hear this, all you peoples. Listen, all you inhabitants of the world,

A Dark Saying: Wealth in Bad Hands
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