The Pompous Dead
Today’s reading: Psalm 47-49; Acts 26
20 Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish. Psalm 49:20
28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” 29 And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.” Acts 26:28-29
A man who lacks understanding of who God is and how one is saved from sin is no better than an animal, even though he may rank high in the eyes of the world.
The Psalmist exalts God at every turn and is not impressed with the things that society holds of great value: power, prestige, wealth, and knowledge. One does not need to read far in the Scripture before confronting this reality. One may be far up the ladder before discovering it is leaning against the wrong wall.
King Agrippa makes a perfect example of this truth. Luke’s account shows that he and his wife, Bernice, were held in high esteem. They entered the audience hall with great pomp (Acts 25:23). Paul is presented to them and he begins his defense describing his previous life and his conversion to Jesus Christ. Festus discounts the whole story as one of a mad man, deluded through too much education. Paul appeals to the king for confirmation of what he is saying. Agrippa, at least, does not call Paul crazy and admits that what he is saying is more than a mere defense. Agrippa understands that Paul is attempting to win the king to Christ!
What makes Paul so bold as to use his own trial as an opportunity to preach Christ to a king and queen? Paul was not intimidated by all the royal fanfare. Paul was enthralled with the glories of his Lord Jesus Christ. Whether he was consciously thinking about Psalm 49, it is safe to say that he was mindful that “man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.”
Are you prepared to grasp even the difficult moments of your life to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ? Remember kings and queens and all other pompous humans without understanding of the gospel and faith in the Savior will perish just like beasts. Be ready to warn them.