A Psalm of instruction
- The Lord, the most mighty God, has spoken
and called the world from the rising of the sun to its setting.
- Out of Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth;
our God comes and will not keep silence.
- Consuming fire goes out before him
and a mighty tempest stirs about him.
- He calls the heaven above,
and the earth, that he may judge his people:
- ‘Gather to me my faithful,
who have sealed my covenant with sacrifice.’
- Let the heavens declare his righteousness,
for God himself is judge.
- Hear, O my people, and I will speak:
‘I will testify against you, O Israel;
for I am God, your God.
- ‘I will not reprove you for your sacrifices,
for your burnt offerings are always before me.
- ‘I will take no bull out of your house,
nor he-goat out of your folds,
- ‘For all the beasts of the forest are mine,
the cattle upon a thousand hills.
- ‘I know every bird of the mountains
and the insect of the field is mine.
- ‘If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the whole world is mine and all that fills it.
- ‘Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls,
or drink the blood of goats?
- ‘Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving
and fulfil your vows to God Most High.
- ‘Call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you and you shall honour me.’
- But to the wicked, says God:
‘Why do you recite my statutes
and take my covenant upon your lips,
- ‘Since you refuse to be disciplined
and have cast my words behind you?
- ‘When you saw a thief, you made friends with him
and you threw in your lot with adulterers.
- ‘You have loosed your lips for evil
and harnessed your tongue to deceit.
- ‘You sit and speak evil of your brother,
you slander your own mother’s son.
- ‘These things have you done, and should I keep silence?
Did you think that I am even such a one as yourself?
- ‘But no, I must reprove you,
and set before your eyes the things that you have done.
- ‘You that forget God, consider this well,
lest I tear you apart and there is none to deliver you.
- ‘Whoever offers me the sacrifice of thanksgiving honours me
and to those who keep my way
will I show the salvation of God.’
Today’s Psalm, Psalm 50, is a Psalm of instruction. It tells of the coming of Christ and the day of judgement, in which God will call men to account; and the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of judgement.
The Psalm is a picture of a court of law. This is a place usually where people gather decide whether someone has done right or wrong. If they have done wrong, the court can send them to prison, or worse.
I guess in today’s worlds courts may look different, and be held via Zoom! In the Psalm, it’s not a person, it’s Israel that is in court. God is telling them what they have done wrong. Everything in the sky and on earth must decide whether Israel has done right or wrong.
God says that they have done wrong and that he will punish them if they do not obey him. Remember, a court of law is where people decide if someone has done right or wrong. But this court is not in a building, but in the whole world, and most likely not as we would know it.
To me there are two kinds of people in this courtroom: the Godly and the ungodly. The Godly will be together with him, but the ungodly will be sent to the eternal lake of fire. This is not a scare tactic; it simply is the truth!
In verse 8, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to love God and our neighbour is better than all burnt offerings. We are here warned not to rest in these performances. And let us beware of resting in any form. God demands the heart, and how can human inventions please him, when repentance, faith, and holiness are neglected?
So, what does God want? Twice the Psalm points us to thankfulness and faithfulness. When we give thanks to God it brings God honour. When we faithfully follow God, keeping to his path, we discover his salvation.
We must praise God! Let us thankfully accept God’s mercy, and endeavour to glorify him in word and deed.
Reflection by Lindsay Yates
Hub Leadership Team (Chapelfields Hub)