Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Fear Not

Especially, do not fear men. Psalm 49.5-9

Antidote to Vanity and Death (2)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 49.16-20
Do not be afraid when one becomes rich,
When the glory of his house is increased;
For when he dies he shall carry nothing away;
His glory shall not descend after him.
Though while he lives he blesses himself
(For men will praise you when you do well for yourself),
He shall go to the generation of his fathers;
They shall never see light.
A man who is in honor, yet does not understand,
Is like the beasts that perish.

Sing Psalm 49.16-20, 15
(Sagina: And Can It Be, That I Should Gain)
Let the redeemed of God take heart, though fools and all their wealth increase.
Death shall deprive him of all he owns, the grave shall make his glory cease.
Thus though he boasts, no light he sees;  his end in hell shall ever be.
Refrain v. 15
My God redeems my soul from hell!
His grace and mercy let me tell!

Read Psalm 49.5-9

Preparation
1. Whom did the sons of Korah not fear? Why not?

2. Can trusting in wealth and riches redeem someone?

Meditation
The fear of man, wrote Solomon, “brings a snare” (Prov. 29.25). Peter learned that lesson the hard way. Given the opportunity to identify himself as a follower of Christ, Peter denied the Lord three times before a young girl and some strangers. Jesus said we must not fear people or what they might do to us; we should instead fear God (Matt. 10.28).

The sons of Korah must have been tempted to fear the wealthy Gentiles who visited their city from time to time. If these people were so rich, how prosperous and powerful must their country be? But when they considered fearing men, they refused to do so (vv. 5, 16). They knew power greater than even the most powerful empires on earth.

God has the power to redeem – to save and forgive and convey into a new Kingdom of light and life. No amount of wealth or temporal power can accomplish that (vv. 6-9). Unbelieving people suppose that riches can bring them whatever “redemption” they might require – happiness, friends, security, and so forth. But these are not true redemption; they cannot deliver us from the grave, and they will not provide entrance into eternal life (v. 9).

The redeemed of the Lord have been ransomed by the death of God’s own Son. All the riches of Jesus are ours, as we worship and obey Him in our daily lives. And the people of this world cannot take these away from us, even though they may take away our freedoms or our lives. So why should we fear them?

We should not.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Job, who had just lost most of his family and possessions, was spoken to by Elihu, who asked: “Will your riches, or all the mighty forces, keep you from distress?” (Job 36.19)
Not very comforting, albeit, but true nonetheless, because the answer was “no”.

So if riches are not the answer, what is?
If riches can’t buy peace with God, what can?
When sin is nipping at our heels, is there a ready escape for that?
Is there a remedy for hopelessness that we can buy?
Again, no, there is not.

But Jesus was willing to buy the perfect gift just for us, however, at a great cost to Himself.
He was willing to spend and be spent for us (2 Cor. 12.15).
“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Gal. 1.3-5).

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
the chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
and by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned, every on, to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all” (Is. 53.4-6).

Beautiful, majestic Savior, Jesus bought us the perfect gift with afflictions, wounds, bruises, chastisements, and stripes.

“For the redemption of their souls was costly…” (Ps. 49.8).

Reflection
1. Why do people continue to think that wealth, riches, and favorable circumstances are the essence of happiness?

2. What is our message to a world which continues to be confused about where happiness is to be found?

3. How can we keep fear of man from hindering our witness for our beautiful, majestic Savior?

Some people rely on their friends, others on their own strength, others on riches. These things are the presumptuous reliance of a human race that does not rely on God. Augustine (354-430), Expositions of Psalms 49.7-8

Closing Prayer: Psalm 49.1-6
Wait in silence on the Lord. Ask Him to show you if there is any fear of man in you, keeping you from living as a witness for the Lord. Seek His strength and help to overcome your fear with boldness.

Sing Psalm 49.1-6, 15
(Sagina: And Can It Be, That I Should Gain)
Hear this, you peoples, low and high; give ear as wisdom I proclaim:
My heart with understanding fills to hear and sing my Savior’s fame.
Why should I fear when foes arise, who trust in wealth and boast in lies?
Refrain v. 15
My God redeems my soul from hell!
His grace and mercy let me tell!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to our summary of last week’s study by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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