Psalm 49

Talks for Growing Christians

Worldly Riches are Temporary, But the Hope of the Righteous is Eternal

Psalm 49

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Lesson Number 36

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The present wealth and pomp of the rich is not the whole story.
  2. The future reward and glory of the righteous is the rest of the story.

Practical Application

  1. You can’t redeem your brother.
  2. Don’t live for the present!


  1. Who was this psalm written to?
  2. What truth does the psalmist want to convey to his listeners?
  3. Why do the righteous not need to fear the unrighteous wealthy people?
  4. How is this psalm similar to the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16?
  5. What does it mean when we say, “You can’t redeem your brother”?


  1. Rich people, poor people, socially elite people, bottom rung people – all inhabitants of the world (verse 1). This includes all people today!
  2. He wants to speak of wealth and the earthly power and glory that usually accompany wealth. While it looks like the rich and powerful have it made, that is not the whole story.
  3. All the wealth and power of these people is limited, both in extent and time. Their money can’t buy everything, and material wealth is only temporary.
  4. Before death, the unbelieving rich man lived like a king and Lazarus had nothing but faith. After death a great reversal took place; the unbelieving rich man was in torment while Lazarus was with the Lord. Verse 14 of this psalm speaks of the same reversal.
  5. The context of these verses is not eternal life, but physical life. You can’t buy an escape from eventual death, which comes to us all. You can’t buy your way out of dying – for yourself or your brother.


  1. “The rich and powerful live with the illusion of immortality.” Discuss what this means. Also discuss how the wealthy are like animals which perish (verse 12).
  2. After reading a psalm like this it’s easy to think that being wealthy is a bad thing. Is this what the psalm is teaching? If God has blessed you financially, what should your attitude be toward your wealth?


  1. As believers we must live in the present, but we should not live for the present. You can’t take your money, fame, or power with you when you die. But the money, time, and talent you give to the Lord now will result in eternal reward for you in the future. In that way, you can take it with you!

Key Verses

  • “My mouth shall speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall give understanding.” Psalm 49:3
  • “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me.” Psalm 49:15

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