The message of Psalm 49 is universal. It is for all people, all the inhabitants of the world (v. 1). It is for all classes of people—both low and high, rich and poor (v. 2). Those who incline their ear to listen attentively and act accordingly will be wise (vv. 3-4) and fearless in the days when evil and death come (v. 5).
The message of Psalm 49 is simple: Do not believe the lie. Nothing overstates its value like wealth does. It promises houses that will last forever and immortality that will never perish (v. 11). “Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain; he is like the beasts that perish” (v. 12).
The message of Psalm 49 is clear: Trust in God, not worldly riches. “This is the way of those who are foolish and of their posterity who approve their sayings. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me. Do not be afraid when one becomes rich when the glory of his house is increased; for when he dies he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lives he blesses himself (for men will praise you when you do well for yourself), he shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. A man who is in honor yet does not understand is like the beasts that perish” (vv. 13-20).
The message of Psalm 49 reverberates in the New Testament: “But God said to him, ‘Thou Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20-21).