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Psalm 49:1-4 Death is the Great Equalizer

July 21, 2021 | by: Gregg Hunter | 0 comments

Posted in: Psalm 49

In this world, there are many people who consider themselves better than others. Some think they are better because they have more money; others think they are better because they are smarter; some think they are better because they are more powerful; others think they are better because they are more famous or popular; and still others think they are better because they are more religious or moral. There are many reasons for which we think we are better than other people. Yet, none of them are valid.

This week, we will spend time looking at each one of these faulty beliefs. We will find from Psalm 49 that none of them will ultimately save us from that great equalizer: death. Death comes for the rich and the poor, the smart and the dumb, the powerful and the weak, the famous and the inconspicuous, the haughty church goer and the lowly sinner. Death comes for us all alike! There is no sense in trusting in something that cannot save us from the same fate of all mankind. Yet, people still do. 

Fortunately, Psalm 49 reminds us that, no matter how rich, intelligent, powerful, famous, or pious you get, death is still coming for you. The only way to be saved from death is to trust in God. Since we will be spending so much time in this psalm, let’s begin with the introduction.


Please read Psalm 49:1-4.


It’s hard to imagine what more the psalmist could do to express the universality of this psalm. In the first verse alone, he uses the world “all” twice to refer to his audience – “all peoples” and “all inhabitants of the world.” He clearly wants everyone to hear what he is about to say.

When I was in college, I had a Greek professor who loved to say, “all means ‘all,’ and that’s all ‘all’ means.” It was a catchy way to remind us that (most often), when Scripture uses the world ‘all’ to refer to mankind, it is not limiting the scope to a particular group of mankind. The psalmist is not just talking to all men, or all residents of Israel, or all slaves, or all people who speak Hebrew. There is no limit! He is talking to all peoples, everywhere, for all time! This is a universal message.

To make this even more clear, the psalmist identifies opposite groups of people: “both low and high, rich and poor together.” This method of classification names the two opposite ends of a spectrum in order to include all people along that spectrum. Whether you were part of the elite class, the middle class, the lowest class, or somewhere in between, you were part of the psalmist’s intended audience. Whether you have piles of gold, a bag of gold, or have never even seen gold, you were part of the psalmist’s intended audience. Whether you are a king or a pauper, a billionaire or on welfare, the psalmist has something to say to you.

What is it that the Psalmist wants his intended audience to hear? “Wisdom,” “a proverb,” a “riddle” set to music. There is something very special about what the psalmist is about to say—so special that it will take us a week to analyze it. And even then, we will only really be able to understand when the Holy Spirit gives us insight into the meaning of God's Word. But I’ll give you a simply summary as we close today’s study: death is the great equalizer; the only way to be saved from death is through faith in God. Thank God that He has sent us His Son to save us from death!