Scripture reading – Psalms 50, 53, 60, 75
Today’s Scripture reading consists of four Psalms and I believe they all revolve around the time of David’s reign. As noted in earlier devotionals, David experienced great victories because “the LORD preserved [saved; delivered; gave victory to] David whithersoever he went” (2 Samuel 8:14). Consider with me the longest of today’s psalms as the focus of our devotional commentary.
Psalm 50 – God, My Righteous Judge
You will notice the title of Psalm 50 is “A Psalm of Asaph.” This is the first of twelve Psalms attributed to Asaph who was a musician in the Temple (2 Chronicles 29:30). Remembering this is a song that worshippers would have heard in the Temple, let us consider the themes that run through the chapter.
Psalm 50:1-6 – The Majesty of God, the Righteous Judge
Consider the names for God in the opening verses: He is El, meaning mighty and “Elohim,” meaning “mighty God.” (50:1a). He is “YHWH,” LORD Jehovah, the Eternal, Self-existent God (50:1b). He is majestic in His person (50:2) and is the coming Judge who is righteous and just (50:3-6).
Psalm 50:7-15 – The LORD’S Threefold Message for the Righteous in Israel
Does the LORD have a right to judge His people? Absolutely, because He is “God, even thy God”(50:7). While God did not reject the burnt offerings and sacrifices of His people (50:8), He nevertheless revealed the people had both a wrong motive and wrong view of the sacrifices they offered to the LORD (50:9-15).
Rather than seeing the sacrifices as a visual representation of the weight of their sin, the people were proud of their sacrifices. When they came before the LORD they failed to come in humility and identify their offerings as tokens symbolic of their sin and need of atonement (50:9). The LORD said to His people, “Do you think I need your sacrifices? Do you think you have earned my favor by bringing me a bull out of your stalls or a goat from your pens (50:9)?
The LORD laid bare how foolish His people were to boast in their sacrifices, as though He needed them! After all, everything in the earth belongs to the LORD (50:10-13)!
God desired that His people would come with “thanksgiving” and keep His covenant (50:14). The LORD promised, “call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (50:15); call on me and I will answer your prayers.
Psalm 50:16-21 – God’s Message for the Wicked of Israel
The wicked were men of Israel who knew His Commandments and spoke of God’s Covenant with them; however, they were wicked hypocrites (50:16)! The LORD revealed He knew what lay in the hearts of men (50:17-20).
Consider the litany of charges God brought against the wicked: They hated his instruction and despised His discipline (50:17). They tolerated theft and condoned adultery (50:18). Their mouths were filled with evil, and they were deceivers (50:19). They scorned their fellow man and slandered their own siblings (50:20).
God warned the wicked, though He had been silent and longsuffering, He was just and would surely set things in order and judge their sins (50:21).
Psalm 50:22-23 – The LORD’S warning: Don’t forget me!
The wicked had given no thought of God and dismissed His judgment. God warned Israel: Don’t forget me! Don’t forget I am omniscient, good, just, and holy (50:22a). Ignore my warnings and I will “tear you in pieces [like a lion], and there be none to deliver [save you]” (50:22b). Offer me praise and glorify me in your words and works and I will “show the salvation of God” (50:23).
Lesson – Having a right perspective of God (50:1) is essential to having a right view of ourselves and what manner of man or woman we are in His eyes.
Challenge – Give God your heart and everything else will take its rightful place (50:14-15).
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith