The truths of the Bible call for universal heeding. The
mysteries will repay all study. Natural men, in their best state, are
immeasurably inferior to the people of God.
1, 2. "Hear this, all you people; give ear, all you
inhabitants of the world; both low and high, rich and poor, together."
The revelation of God alike concerns the whole family of
man. Wherever man lives, he lives defiled by sin, and justly exposed to
wrath. As the malady is one, so too is the remedy. All need it; to all it is
proclaimed in the Gospel. What madness can be greater than to close our ears
to the precious tidings! The low are raised by it; the high are stripped of
their lofty looks. The rich are ennobled by it with the true riches; the
poor obtain the true treasure.
3, 4. "My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the
meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. I will incline my ear to a
parable; I will open my dark saying upon the harp."
The treasures of true wisdom are folded up in God's Word.
There He, who is the wise, the all wise, the only wise, declares His mind
and will. The Bible student will read, and will declare. His heart will
meditate, but not concerning foolish trifles. Solid truths will be the food
of his thoughts. He will diligently listen to the mysteries of redemption,
shadowed out in great variety of images; and his melody will be concerning
5. "There is no need to fear when times of trouble
come, when enemies are surrounding me."
Countless are the exhortations to the believer never to
give place to fear. His constant response should be, I will trust and not be
afraid. Days of evil will often overshadow him; reminiscences of past
iniquity may leave impressions on the mind, deep as the prints of the heels
upon a soft or sandy path. In this there may be ground of humiliation, but
there is no cause for misapprehension. The covenant of peace stands sure,
and never can be broken. The reconciliation is forever made; the promise
will be realized; goodness and mercy shall follow him all the days of his
life, and he shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
6, 7, 8, 9. "Those who trust in their wealth, and
boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; none of them can by any
means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him; (for the
redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceases forever;) that he should
still live forever, and not see corruption."
The riches of this world are eagerly sought by natural
men. They delight in the enjoyments which are thus purchased, and the homage
and adulation which are thus won. It is their pleasure to magnify themselves
in their apparent distinction above their fellows. But what is their real
value when viewed in spiritual light? They are light as chaff—they are
worthless as the vilest dross. How can riches deliver a sinner from the
grasp of death? How can they prolong his days on earth, or raise from the
corruption of the grave?
Shall earthly riches be presented to God as an equivalent
for the forfeited soul—shall they be offered as a redeeming price? Is there
satisfaction in them to the outraged attributes of God? Can they avail to
mitigate merited wrath? The very thought is folly. Man in the utmost
grandeur of outward possession is utterly without avail to redeem his
A glorious parenthesis is here inserted. It casts a ray
of joy over a saddening truth. It speaks of redemption, and tells us that it
requires vast price. Here the blessed Gospel brightly shines. We bless our
dying Jesus, our curse-removing Lord, our death-enduring Substitute, that He
has accomplished redemption. It was bought by a precious price—even by the
price of His own blood—which had infinite efficacy because of His essential
deity. It out-valued all the silver and the gold which earth ever produced.
It outweighed all treasures. By it every attribute of God is satisfied, and
magnified, and glorified. Let us, also, be satisfied with it. This ransom
has no need of gradual progress. By the one death of Jesus it is forever
secured. It needs no repetition. By His one offering once made, He has
perfected forever those who are sanctified.
10. "For He sees that wise men die, likewise the fool
and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others."
It is an obvious fact, compelling universal acquiescence,
that mental faculties cannot secure length of days. Men of the
shrewdest intellect move onward to the grave. By their side men lie who are
least endowed. Alike they might have been enriched with large abundance of
this world's wealth. But their feeble hands cannot retain the grasp. They
cannot take their treasure with them. Other inheritors must succeed and
count the riches as their own.
11. "Their inward thought is, that their houses shall
continue forever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call
their lands after their own names."
They seem to dream of earthly immortality. They imagine
perpetuity of their names. They inscribe their titles on their stately
homes, or on their wide possessions.
12, 13. "Nevertheless, man being in honor abides not;
he is like the beasts that perish. This their way is their folly; yet their
posterity approve their sayings."
As riches are no protection from the grave, neither do
honors bring deliverance. Titles may be grand, distinctions may be
brilliant, yet the possessors soon lie low. Mortality is common to them,
even as it is to all the herds of animal creation. Their forgetfulness of
short-lived continuance is justly termed their folly. But it is incredible,
that their descendants tread the same senseless path. They are not
instructed by the ignorance of their predecessors—they rather commend their
14. "Like 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."
The titled and the wealthy worldlings do not have
stronger tenure of life than the flocks of the meadows. Death claims them as
its prey, and feeds upon their lifeless bodies—from their stately halls they
must be carried to mingle with corruption. The morning of the resurrection
comes—then the poor believer, however scorned in his passage through life,
shall shine in manifested superiority, and shall put on the beautiful robes
of everlasting glory.
15. "But God will redeem my soul from the power of the
grave; for He shall receive me."
The believer knows his foundation of perpetual joy. It is
true that his body must taste corruption, and lie for a little season in the
grave; but he knows that God who has redeemed his soul, by the precious
blood of His dearly-beloved Son, will also soon raise his body from the
transient tenure of the grave. The redeemed soul shall again inhabit a
redeemed body. The blessed consummation shall be complete. The glorified
body and the glorified soul shall constitute the glorified man. Thus perfect
he shall be upraised to the palace of the King of kings, and shall reign in
those bright realms into which death shall never enter.
16, 17, 18, 19, 20. "So don't be dismayed when the
wicked grow rich, and their homes become ever more splendid. For when they
die, they carry nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into
the grave. In this life they consider themselves fortunate, and the world
loudly applauds their success. But they will die like all others before them
and never again see the light of day. People who boast of their wealth don't
understand that they will die like the animals."
Established truths are here repeated. The believer is
exhorted to keep his faith from wavering, when he sees prosperity gilding
the path of the worldling. The brevity of all mortal condition should check
all temptation to be staggered by its prosperity. Worldlings may hold
dazzling superabundance; but how long can they call these things their own?
They must leave all behind; they can carry nothing with them. Their
prosperity might excite adulation and the homage of fellow-mortals. But
departure must take place—even to eternal wretchedness—even to blackness of
darkness forever. The cause of this misery is the lack of saving knowledge.
There is ignorance of self, of sin, of God, of Christ, of redemption, of
salvation. O Lord, open our eyes, give us understanding to know You, the
only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.