The outline of Psalm 49 is not obscure, which means that nearly all commentators divide it into the same five parts, though they sometimes combine them under comprehensive headings. They are: 1) the introduction (which we have already touched on); 2) the foolishness of trusting riches (vv. 5-9); 3) the inescapability of death (vv. 10-12); 4) the contrast between those who trust riches and those who trust God (vv. 13-15); and 5) an appeal to all persons to be wise (vv. 16-20).

Because the Bible is a book of progressive revelation, it is often the case that a New Testament passage can be read as a commentary on part of the Old Testament. But sometimes it works the other way around. Sometimes an Old Testament passage is a commentary on something in the New Testament.

"God's special presence in his church.” The ancient devout Jews were conscious of the presence of God in Jerusalem, symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant that rested within the Most Holy Place of the temple. It is why he could say, "God is in her citadels" (v. 3). We cannot say that God is in our cities in the same way, or even in our churches. But we have something better: God in us, in the person of his Holy Spirit.

In my opinion, one of the nicest parts of this psalm is the concluding section in which the people are invited to walk around the city, count the towers and consider the ramparts and citadels, that the perfect nature of God's recent deliverance might be impressed on their minds so they might be able to remember it vividly and so be able to pass it on to their children and their children's children (vv. 12, 13).

A corporate testimony. The third item in this section of the psalm is the people's corporate testimony to the deliverance, expressed in the words "As we have heard, so have we seen..." (v. 8). It means that we have heard about the powerful acts of God in past days. Our fathers and mothers have told us about them. Now we have seen the power of God for ourselves. He has acted in our time also.