“People who have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish.” Psalm 49:20
It’s not wealth that’s the problem, rather people’s lack of understanding that money won’t solve their problems. Wealth doesn’t provide eternal security, doesn’t rescue from decay (verse 9), or death (verse 10), or anonymity, even if land is named after them (verse 11). They’ll never have enough money to ransom their lives (verses 7-8). “Their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions” (verse 14).
God isn’t against wealth, he blessed Abraham and David with great wealth, but he is against a self-sufficient, self-confident attitude that says, I can provide for myself, so I don’t need God. It’s an attitude that may arise if we start accumulating wealth.
The Psalmist brings a different perspective and introduces it with the significant words, “But God.” The Psalmist hasn’t put his hope in money, so he can expect a different outcome. “But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself” (verse 15). The Psalmist has hope beyond the grave. He understood the fleeting nature of wealth and its inability to provide true security. He puts his trust in God.
Paul shares a similar perspective with Timothy, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17).
God not only provides us with eternal security but also with present enjoyment. Paul goes on to encourage the wealthy “to be rich in good deeds,” because they will have treasure in heaven.
Let’s be people of understanding who have put their trust in the Lord.