So we reach the climax in chapter 49, which is directed to all peoples (v.1).
The climactic verse is 15 – “But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me“. That is the true wisdom (v.3), that is the true proverb and resolution to the riddle (vv.3-4), and answer for all generations, all inhabitants of the world, all the rich and poor together (v.2). Why should we fear in times of trouble with this as our security? God Himself will ransom my soul. Not my wealth (v.6), nor my cheats (v.5), nor my boasts (v.6), nor my own ransom (v.7). How we were even burned with the image of God, that we wish to ransom the life of another so that they should live on forever and never see the pit (vv.7-9) — yet, their works are worthless. For he sees that even the wise die along with the fool and the stupid alike, their wealth and their glories left to others (v.10). The pit is their home (v.11), and as long as we remain in our pomp, we perish but no different from the Spirit-less beasts (v.12).
Outside of Christ, they are already condemned (John 3:16-18) – like sheep, they are appointed for Sheol and rather than Christ, death shall be their shepherd (v.14). Their form, their flesh, their bodies, shall be consumed in Sheol – with no place to dwell. No place to call their true home. Yet better is one day in His courts than a thousands elsewhere, as on the day of His return we will be ransomed and He will receive me! That is the promise in the Scriptures, the promise of this Psalmist. Claim it, brothers and sisters – He will receive me. We should not be looking over our shoulders as Lot’s wife; we should not envy the lives of the rich; we should not increase our “glory” and “blessings” in this world, if they are outside of Jesus (v.18-19), for the reward would merely be to go to our forefathers who do not see the light (v.19). Again, man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish (v.20; see v.12, repeated) – but we have understanding, we have the promise, we have the Holy Spirit, we claim His victory, and we claim His gift for us – His Son!