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You Can't Take it with You

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
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November 16, 2021 7:00 am

You Can't Take it with You

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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November 16, 2021 7:00 am

You’re probably familiar with the old saying: You can’t take it with you when you go. On this episode of The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boice, we’ll continue our study of the Psalms with Psalm 49. This psalm reminds us that our bodies are mortal--we will all eventually meet with death. So how should such a sobering reminder affect the way we live, and the choices we make?

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You're probably familiar with the old saying you can't take it with you when you go today on the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce will continue our study of the songs with Psalm 49. This Psalm reminds us that our bodies are mortal. We will all eventually meet with death, so how should such a sobering reminder affect the way we live and the choices we make are welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Jesus said in Matthew 19 it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. Perhaps you are familiar with this verse like many of us, maybe you've even thought the lesson here doesn't apply to you because well it only applies to the rich will, and today's message will find out just why you don't have to be rich to perish by your riches. If you have your Bible handy turn to Psalm 49 sure you know that the Bible is a most interesting book and that it was written over a period of about 1500 years and by at least 40 different authors from all walks of life. And yet, in spite of that, it's a unity is an interesting kind of unity. However, it's a progressive unity. Sometimes theologians talk about that is progressive revelation. What that means is that you often have the germ of a theological idea in the Old Testament, but then as you go on your find it elaborated and it's often the case, therefore, that a New Testament text is an ideal commentary upon something you find in the Old Testament. Interestingly enough, however, sometimes it works the other way around. To suggest that that's what we have here in Psalm 49 it's really an Old Testament commentary about a New Testament story. I'm thinking of the story that Jesus himself told it's recorded in the 12th chapter of Lucas versus 13 to 21. It's about a rich landowner man had such an abundant crop one year that he didn't know what to do with that and he said well here's what I'll do tear down my old barns are not big enough to hold and I'll build new barns when I get my new barns that I'll put a migraine in the barns and then I'll say to myself now self. Take it easy. Why back, relax and enjoy the kind of things you've created for yourself. Each drink and be merry and Jesus comment on that. Was that the man was a fool, he said, don't you know this very night your soul is going to be demanded of you and then whose well all those things belong to that you've laid up for yourself. Now that's the story. I am Psalm 49 is this commentary is wisdom. Saul Sam about the vanity of riches and yet it's more than that it's a very profound wisdom saw Mammon had anything quite like it so far in the Psalter when you read the opening verses one through four sort of a little introduction of the saw may sound more like the book of Proverbs, and they do like the songs or at least like some other wisdom portion of the Old Testament the word wisdom in verse three. Word understanding in the second part of that are actually plural in Hebrew, which has a way of intensifying limit sign. This is unusual wisdom is unusual understanding, but in case we missed that verse four says that what the psalmist is doing is getting his wisdom on this matter from God see that phrase.

We pass over easily when we read it, I will turn my ear to a proverb turning your ear really means to listen and if you say, well, who is the psalmist listening to obviously's listening to God. God is going to give them some real insight into this great mystery. He calls it a riddle of life and death of riches in this life and life to, give them some insight and that is all a very special emphasis you say.

He says now pay attention to this. I want to talk about these things now we all need to hear that you might tend to miss it and say well this is only for very rich but notice first show he's going to give it to low and high rich and poor alike.

It's a way of saying that you don't have to be rich to perish by your riches.

You can be trying to be rich in perish by the riches.

You don't even have. I am very impressed with this kind of material because I'm well aware if anybody thinks about it is that we live in an exceedingly materialistic day. Whole economy moves by pushing materialism on people who live in it and you and I just can't escape that we live in the Western world and even though we call ourselves Christians wait have our horizons broadened.

So we think of eternity somewhat and at least in times of sober reflection can begin to adjust priorities in a way that we certainly wouldn't of done only when Christians nevertheless you and I still think very much of the time in materialistic terms, and the churches operate that way on white influential psychiatrist Christian writer some years ago, wrote a book called the Golden cow about the church worship the golden image she used to Golden calf out of the Old Testament is an image for what the church is doing is that we bow down before the altar of wealth and it was a great expos materialism in the churches I don't how that book did but my suspicion is, it didn't do very well. I haven't heard anybody talking about and it only shows how materialistic we really are. Well that's the case we need to listen to a song like that and learn from it. I said it was a profound statement of this matter, shortness of life and the foolishness of riches, but it's more than that. Let me give you a quotation by one of the great commentators on the solemn success of this when this Psalm is no mere commonplace on the shortness of life and the uncertainty of riches of snow philosophical dissertation which bids us to bear up bravely in our perils and sufferings tell us of virtue is its own reward.

It's not doing that. It goes to the very root of the matter shows us not only the vanity of riches, but the end of those who boast in their riches comforts the righteous in their oppression and affliction not merely by telling them that they'll finally triumph over the wicked, but by the more glorious hope of life everlasting with God says is a quotation continues that it is not home, particularly the senses. Saul part makes it so remarkable now is a very easy outline.

I find that almost all the commentators follow it more or less. Sometimes they combine the parts under one heading there. Nevertheless, talking about it in these terms, and it is more or less reflected in the paragraph divisions of the new international Bible really are five sections except that there is also a refrain that you find in verse 12 and 20 and if you put those verses with the verses that immediately precede them.

You really have your five sections. The first is a call to wisdom is what I've been talking about a little bit here. By way of introduction its introduction to the song second section deals with the foolishness of trusting and riches. Third section beginning in verse 10 stresses that death comes to everyone and that's the thing we must ultimately reckon with. In verse 13 and following a great contrast is made between those who trust the riches on the one hand, those of trust God and the other, and finally, at the very end. Verse 16. Following there's an appeal to wives that live like wise people should now that's what I want to follow the foolishness of trusting wealth, which is what it's talking about a verse five and following comes from the fact as he states it that you can't save your life by having money.

Matter fact he says you can't save the life of someone else with modern technology, sometimes by use of expensive means you can prolong it, but it doesn't do any good to argue that way. Sooner or later die doesn't make any difference how wealthy you are, you can have billions upon billions I don't know anybody does have billions upon billions and in that final encounter. It doesn't make any difference you can add $0.10 still have to die and that's what he saying and because of that, well your foolish if you don't come to terms with that early on in life that chair was one of the richest men of his day.

He was a great intellectual in France at the time of the Enlightenment back in the 18 century, very sophisticated time that he became wealthy through his writings satirical writings contributions of scholarly nature. Perhaps most of all by his little novelette Candide, which poked fun at Christianity was known as the great skeptic and atheist. Yet when he came to God. His last words were very pathetic. Was talking to his doctor and he was begging for life. He said I am abandoned by God and man. I will give you half of all I possess of you can give me six months more life. All God or Jesus Christ and that he died altar with all his great wealth was unable to slow down the advance of an psalmist site we have to recognize that that is going to be true for us as well. Some scholars have pointed out that verse seven does not express this matter of saving life by money the way we might expect what it says is that no man can redeem the life of a mother and some of the scholars of said that really is and what you should set you should be saying no one can save his own life by his money and so they propose a number of textual emendations.

What that means is you. You just fool around with the original text a bit. Do you get to say what you wanted to say and that's what they have done for this text but as usual with scholarly emendations. It misses the point instead of looking to the original text and see how they could change if they should've started Texas we have a little bit more thoroughly because what you find later on verse 15 is that the psalmist is going to talk about God redeeming his soul from the gray what he saying here is that what we can't do. God can we get redeem the life of another. But God can redeem a life of another. So he phrases it the way he does and that verse in order make the contrast that is going to give later in the third section of this beginning with verse 10 he talks about the Yunus capability of death that's important to say because you might have someone who seems to be trusting his wealth.

But when you point out that wealth can't save them from death. He would say something like, well, now I'm not trusting the well that's just myself on trusting.

I'm basically indestructible you say well that's an absolutely foolish thing to say. Everybody must die and is exactly what the psalmist says verse 10 everybody can see that all people die. The wiseguy as well as the foolish yes, but people live as if there never going to die, came across a interesting story that this is far as I know it's a true story that was a wealthy landowner in Massachusetts many years ago and he was pouring all of his life's energy into accumulating us in a state which was found in his real estate holdings.

This vast farm, but right in the middle of it.

There was this very small farm that was owned by a poor man, spoiled what he was trying to do it when we get rid of it format wouldn't sell but for one reason or another format got into financial trouble with the lawsuit and judgments were made against the land is adapted to look very much for a time, as if that poor man was in a lose his land because of his death.

In the meantime, this rich man was standing off of the side he was hardly wait until this poor man lost his leg is used by him up at whatever cost might be. But somehow that poor man managed to meet the payments one after one finally the time came when he played all the debt, but it was Millie loses land after all.

When wealthy man heard about that. This is what he said. He said well my neighbor is an old man he can't live on when he's dead I'll buy the lot, but the person who told the story said the strange thing was the neighbor was 58 years old and he was 60. Now that's the way we think. You say we say well yes of course all people by but somehow we don't really come to grips with the fact that includes ourselves. And so, at least in practical terms we live is ever going to live forever and were going to keep all our wealth never have to give it up. Two men met on the streetcar one occasion and they were talking about something that bit in the newspaper that morning. One said, did you see that this millionaire named him by name and have a lot of money that that he died last night.

Jesse so I saw that the paper his friends and how much did he leave a man who called his attention to the story said everything you have seen the psalmist is saying that the part of wisdom is to come to terms with that we would understand that not superficial intellectual level at which we would say what yes of course the day is coming when we have to die and leave it all behind. Nevertheless, we go on trying to accumulate all we can on that level that if we would understand it on the profound level.

That's kind of wisdom, the psalmist talking about. We live differently when they would have different priorities. Relationships would be more than accumulating money how we use our time would make a big change in addition to that what we do with our money would be something we would consider would use it in different ways. We would try to use it to encourage that which is everlasting and spiritual, rather than the kind of things that are quickly going to pass away well. Psalmist says man despite his riches does not end your is like the beasts that perish you know is it's a commonplace and lots of the literature of the world largest biblical literature that if you don't live by understanding your living like a beast.

Plato said that, among others, the distinct quality of the human being is that he can think and reason and come to terms with ultimate things to say a person is not doing bad who's living as if this life is all there is is living like an animal for whom this life is all there is. Psalmist is come to terms with mortality in the foolishness of trusting your well is an interesting thing there.

And that verse, verse 12, which is hidden in our translation, but is much more powerful in the Hebrew text.

We have those words does not endure, but in the Hebrew is actually an idiom and says he doesn't pass the night so I conjures up this kind of an image he says luck man on the surface of this planet is more insecure even than a traveler stops and in order to spend the night.

At least the traveler spends the night.

But we by the brevity of our live building and have that much time, so he says luck. Take notice of that of the wise how I think the heart of the song really comes in verse 13 and following where he begins to develop the contrast between the foolish man who is trusting to himself and his wealth and what he can do and wise man is trusting God we been expecting this all along. Of course, he hasn't mentioned what he calls the right person yet, but we been anticipating it because this is a wisdom's always writing to people who are wise.

People will pay attention and learn and begin to live differently now. He finally begins to bring that in an explicit terms and he says look there's a great big difference between them. Take the part of those who trust in themselves. First of all, they are like sheep destined for the gray death is going to feed on them is a new idea. Verse 13 we haven't seen it must form the Solomon says, and there followers. What I mentioned earlier when I said in order to perish by riches. You don't have to be rich just have to fix your mind on riches.

Even the riches you don't have lots of people are destroying themselves that way. Then we money all they want to get it if they possibly can do anything for it and some fall and cry in order to get in some fall in the patterns of manipulation in order to get it in some sell their soul still in in in the way. Think about in order to get it don't have it yet, but there are following the lie of those who say well as long as you have plenty of material resources everything gonna be all right because security really comes from money and he says look those who like that are like sheep destined for the gray once again in verse 14. There's an idiom is hidden in the translation says words in our translation death will feed on them actually says in the Hebrew death will be their shepherd. That's going to lead them to horrible land.

One of the commentators on this since the psalmist probably has in mind.

Psalm 23 the Lord is my shepherd running you probably.uses that kind of image in the same language.

I think he is making a delivery contrast.

He saying look your part words the Lord is my shepherd that is true of the godly but people who trust their wealth well their shepherd is that death is unfortunate shepherd to have.

How wise.

By contrast to have the good Shepherd or Jesus Christ said I am good Shepherd or Jesus leads his followers not to death within the life and he blesses them abundantly in this life as well as an icon that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly well. Here's the other half of it. It's those who trust God begins to talk about it latter half of verse 14, the upright will rule over them in the morning.

Forms will decay in the gray far from their princely mansions. That's wicked, but God verse 15 will redeem my soul from the grave and he will surely take me to himself.

I was words but God or one of the great contrast in the Bible. I'm sure you know, again and again strategic points in the Bible you have those two words. But God that makes all the difference in the world, trusting riches, riches let you down but if you're trusting God. God never let you down or never breaks a promise that is never inadequate any situation, God is never confused by the complexity of circumstances.

You God for your shepherd and you have what you really need verse 15 is really a great statement of hope in the life to come. The afterlife says God is going to redeem his soul from the gray Peter Craig Hughes, in other respects. One of the great commentators son. Psalm is uncharacteristically unwise at this point in my judgment, he doesn't see it that way.

He thinks this is that most of the Lincoln.

The wicked are saying shortly. God's going to redeem me from the grave because I'm rich.

I think he misses the whole point you can argue exactly the other way. Another commentators name is Lou pulled a great Lutheran commentator asked the question why doesn't the psalmist elaborate on this more than he does see one of the arguments on the other side is the Old Testament doesn't talk about the afterlife very much. Here's is great statement.

We think that's marvelous but if it is as great as it is means that we think it means to be elaborated upon well Newport says the reason the Old Testament writers didn't elaborate upon it was not that belief in the afterlife was a novelty. But that was a commonplace.

You and I wouldn't feel we have to elaborate on a statement like that at great length say when I die, I trust in the resurrection is going to raise me from the dead, you don't have to elaborate upon that report says that's what we have here. I would argue that there are a number of things here in the contacts that indicate faith on the part of this writer in life beyond the grave latter half of it uses that word take me to himself.

That is most significant is a rare word and occurs in the fifth chapter of Genesis verse 24 of the neck and it didn't taste death. You know, says that chapter early on in Genesis that he was no more, because God took him out all Jewish writers that Old Testament text.

They knew the story of the neck and they could put two and two together as well as you and I can unit was no more, because God took him by talking to himself. That's what it means in about talking to himself. Anemic is no more a year.

Well then there's a life beyond the grave and that's where eunuch was taken. I sure that they didn't have a full understanding that we do. Jesus Christ is not yet calmly not yet seen the resurrection know the power of the triumph over the grave achieved by Jesus Christ and so they didn't have any of that to flush out the doctrine would nevertheless I understood that God had entered into a personal relationship with those who trusted him and because God is eternal. The relationship is eternal and those who die physically are going to be with him some way. I wonder if you really believe that I'm sure you say well I do. Yes course of the Christian Christian believe that the question is do you believe in order to live like it say when you really believe something you act differently you believe this building was on fire. You get out of it in a hurry when just sit here and if you believe this life is short, but that there's an eternity. Beyond it, then you'll begin to live differently and that's what psalmist says we should do.

Surely God will redeem my soul from the grave and take me to himself, argue that verse 14 also has to be understood in that way.

See verse 15 is the strongest statement of the psalmist hope but once you realize what he saying you back to the previous verse find them saying the upright will rule over them in the morning.

Now that is not explicit at sentence could mean well is going to be another day that wicked might be prospering now. Their day will calm they'll die and then the righteous will have their chance.

It could mean that but I don't think it does. For one thing it doesn't always happen.

It's true that the wicked die, but those were upright don't always triumph over them, at least in this life only it's actually true. That's what it means but it we understand the hope of the psalmist is expressed in verse 15 to be in life beyond the grave, then this is not morning, in the sense of another day is the morning of the resurrection, whatever that may be in the understanding of the psalmist on the words is going to be a bright new day. That's why all the old testament commentators understood it well the conclusion that he comes to after he goes through that great contrast is what we have in verse 16 and following what he really says here is don't be overawed by riches, therefore, but what you really need to do is trust God you trust God as your Redeemer. That's what he says some people said well that idea redemption isn't very good one, why does he talk about redemption. Here he does it because it's a commercial term and it's the most appropriate of all words he could've used say redemption means to buyout of slavery when you're talking about it spiritually.

Only God can do that here are the ritual, trusting to what they comply with their money blocking their money by can even save their life physically can save them from the grave. But God is able to redeem buyout of slavery to buy for eternal life.

The souls of those who trust him. So the question is do you really do that.

Are you still trusting to the material things of our world is trying to push upon us all the time until your final story. One of the old preachers was called the bedside of an old miser was dying, everybody knew how stingy he was. He a lot of money and apparently he knew he was dying and he was worried about his soul. So as a result of that, they called the preacher he came he offered to pray with him.

He said now I want to pray for you may hold your hand. I pray for you, but the man wouldn't do it. He kept his hands down under the covers like this will step and so preacher did pray for him but then he began to explore a little bit and something wrong there in the began asking about what he was really trusting what he really trusting this moment what your heart set on and in the conversation. The truth came out with the old miser was doing was hanging onto the keys to the storage cabinet where he kept his treasure and he had the keys under the covers and recited in the bed. He was afraid he was going to die and somebody would get his treasures those hiding under the keys. That's why he wouldn't take preachers and what I say is don't be foolish message of the song totally foolish, wise up psalmist say relax your grip on perishing treasures and instead put your hand in the hand of Jesus Christ will bear you over the troubled waters of this life raise you up to be whether the rain with them upon his throne, and pray father give us wisdom of the area of our wealth. We probably have more trouble in this area than any other because we think not.

As you think, or as we ought to think what is the world thinks forces us and compels us to think about to give us an eternal perspective developed in us. Christian mind, we might see things in the light of eternity and live thereby. So make.

Even our wealth count for something spiritual. Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars and churchmen who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church. To learn more about the alliance visit alliance and while you're there, visit our online store reformed resources. You can find messages and books from Dr. Boyce and other outstanding teachers and theologians, or ask for a free reformed resources catalog by calling 1-800-488-1888. Please take the time to write to us and share how the Bible study our has impacted you.

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