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Psalm 49: Man without understanding

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The writer of this psalm declares that he will speak of understanding. He will even accompany himself on a harp as he speaks of it to all the people that all may meditate on it.

What is understanding? It would seem as if the rich of the world have it. But if they trust in their wealth, they lack understanding. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes, "Wisdom is a defense and money is a defense by the excellency of wisdom is that it gives life to those who have it."

Mere knowledge is nothing without the wisdom of how to use it. Knowledge is useless without discretion or the ability to counsel another. Understanding is necessary. As is written in the Proverbs, "Buy wisdom and sell it not. And with all your getting, get understanding."

The rich and the poor see that wise and foolish often die alike. So what use is wisdom?

The world praises the rich and supports the rich in their views: the world honors the rich by trusting the materialistic view of life. Men praise people who do well for and to themselves, yet many people -- even if they have worldly knowledge-- have little insight. They know as much about the spiritual things of human life as animals do. They lived in blindness and they die while living in blindness. Their ears have been deaf to spiritual things. They have been led all their lives by human hormones, human confusion, human plans, human appetites

But those who have understanding, who know that life is something beyond and above human life, have lives that go beyond the grave because God will redeem (buy back) their lives from death.

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

2Both low and high, rich and poor, together.

3My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.

4I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.

5Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?

6They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;

7None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:

8(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)

9That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.

10For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.

11Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.

12Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.

13This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.

14Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.

15But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.

16Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;

17For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.

18Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.

19He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.

20Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

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