Redeeming Blood 4 - Robert Godfrey
Look at the way in which Psalm 49 puts a sort of refrain as it develops. Verse 12, "Man in his pomp...man in all the splendor that He can gather to Himself, all the velvet and Irwin and gold that he can wear, man in his pomp will not remain. He is like the beast that perishes." If we were doing a modern translation, we would say, You'll die like a dog. But then look how the Psalm concludes. Verse 20, "Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beast that perishes."
The last word of God is not that man with his pomp will die like the beasts. The last word is "Man will die like the beasts if he lacks understanding, if he lacks wisdom, if he lacks insight into the essential truth; and the essential truth is this, that God can ransom a soul, that God can keep us from the power of Sheol, that God will receive us to Himself."
When the Israelites of old had read that verse, that word ransom or redemption, that idea of being delivered and rescued and particularly bought back would have resonated with them. They would have remembered their own history. They would have remembered the laws under which they lived because their history and their laws were filled with the language and thought and reality of redemption, of ransom.
Think of these words reflecting on Israel's deliverance from Egypt as we find them in Deuteronomy 7, "The Lord set His love on you and chose you. Because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery and the hand of Pharaoh, King of Egypt." Israel was bought with a price and brought forth from Egypt, rescued, delivered, ransomed, and that same language is to be found in the prophet Isaiah as he reflects on Israel being gathered back from exile (Isaiah 35), "And the highways shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness. No lion shall be there or any ravenous beast come upon it. They shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing."
So from the beginning of Israel's national history to the promise of its recovery, the language is the language of redemption, the language of ransom from the hand of God. The hand of God will ransom my soul.