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Psalm 49:16-20 Fame Can't Save You from Death

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

Posted in: Psalm 49

Psalm 49 has a message for all peoples: nothing can save you from death except faith in God. Unfortunately, people have all sorts of idols in which they trust, though these idols will not ultimately be able to save them from death.


There are five specific idols identified in this psalm. We have already looked at the idols of money, intelligence, and power. Today, we are going to skip ahead to look at the fourth idol: fame. This idol is hinted at throughout this psalm but it is specifically mentioned in the end.


Please read Psalm 49:16-20.


As you read these verses, you notice words like “glory,” “praise,” and “pomp.” These words should be used to describe God, but they are here used of sinful men. Similar words have been spoken of men throughout this psalm.


The Sons of Korah have identified several idols that people pursue, while neglecting the reality that death will conquer them all. But they chose to end their psalm by calling out this particular pursuit of fame. There is a special place in their minds against this idol of fame. Perhaps that is because these men lived a quiet, humble, simple life.


As courtiers of the king, the Sons of Korah were dressed lavishly and showered with the finest luxuries; they had power to order around other servants; they were intelligent people who could compose great works of music, but they were not famous. They knew of the danger of these other idols first hand, but they did not know what it was like to be famous.


These men were nameless. The group of musicians in David’s court were called “The Sons of Korah,” no matter who the individual was or where he came from. He gave up his own pride to serve under the king. No one would write songs about the songwriter; no one would honor the man who wrote the music; no one even knew his name. He was a quiet, unassuming servant, whose sole duty was to honor and serve the king. Every good thing that was done by these men would gain fame, not for themselves, but for God and their king. So, it is difficult for them to relate to the struggle of fame.


But, for most of us today, it is not so difficult. We live in an age of social media where anyone can be a star. A teenager can be unknown today, post a single video, and have millions of followers tomorrow. People pursue their “fifteen minutes of fame.” If only their videos would “go viral,” then people would know their name! Until the next viral video that is.


Fame is perhaps the most fleeting of these idols. People celebrate the football team that wins the Superbowl, but no one knows who won the Superbowl ten years ago. People sing along at their favorite concert, but no one wants the artists to play their new music. People pour over magazines of their favorite celebrities… until those celebrities start to age and lose their good looks.


How tragic it is that people want to be famous, and are willing to sell their bodies and souls to achieve this vapor in the wind! Those who know Christ shouldn’t worry when others get the credit. “be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases.” Why? Because, when he dies, as all men do, “his glory will not go down after him.”


It is a rare person who is remembered long after their death. Some incredibly famous people are honored when they die. Perhaps we remember that we liked their music, so we re-listen to their album for a day or two. But, eventually they fade from our memories. Death is the great equalizer. Fame will not last forever. Even the most famous will one day die, just like the rest of us. But those who have trusted in Jesus Christ, will have their names eternally written in the Book of Life! And we will live forever in the presence of the One who knows our name.