Psalm 50 – A Psalm of Asaph
1 The Mighty One, God the LORD, has spoken and called the earth from the rising of the sun to its going down. 2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth. 3 Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous all around Him. 4 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people: 5 “Gather My saints together to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.” 6 Let the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is Judge. Selah
7 “Hear, O My people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you; I am God, your God! 8 I will not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are continually before Me. 9 I will not take a bull from your house, nor goats out of your folds. 10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine. 12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fullness. 13 Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? 14 Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. 15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”
16 But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to declare My statutes, or take My covenant in your mouth, 17 Seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you? 18 When you saw a thief, you consented with him, and have been a partaker with adulterers. 19 You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit. 20 You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. 21 These things you have done, and I kept silent; you thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you, and set them in order before your eyes.
22 “Now consider this, you who forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver: 23 Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.”
(Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)
In this psalm (which we read tomorrow), God reminds us of His coming judgment upon the peoples of this world and, more specifically, of His judgment upon those who claim to be believers and take His name upon their lips.
God does not desire faithless sacrifices and rituals. He will judge those who go through the motions of sacrifice and worship but whose hearts remain impenitent and without true faith in Christ and His atoning sacrifice upon the cross.
Indeed, those who continue on in their sinful ways, impenitent, have no right to call themselves Christian or to take God’s covenant of mercy upon their lips. Their worship and sacrifices are worthless and God does not desire them.
Rather, God desires true repentance – that we agree with God about our utter sinfulness and trust in Him to mercifully forgive our sins and accept us as His dear children for the sake of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world. He desires repentance which produces the fruits of repentance – thanking God for His goodness and mercy, paying our vows to the Lord, calling upon Him in times of trouble.
God will judge the wicked, but those who repent and look to Him for mercy for the sake of Christ Jesus will see the salvation of God.
And so, I ask you before God, are you truly sorry for all your sins, in thoughts, words and actions? Do you look in faith to Christ Jesus and His cross for mercy and forgiveness? Do you desire, with the help and aid of God the Holy Spirit, to amend your sinful ways and live for Your God and Savior in accord with His Word?
If so, I, in the name of the Triune God, announce unto you the grace of God and forgive you all your sins for the sake of Jesus’ holy life and innocent sufferings and death in your stead. Go in peace! Amen.
YHWH – (Hebrew name of God, usually spelled out LORD, but sometimes pronounced Jehovah or Yahweh)
KURIOS ‘O THEOS – (Greek name of God, usually translated the LORD God)
“And God spoke all these words, saying: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Exodus 20:1-2
1. Who is God and what does the Bible tell us about Him?
Isaiah 42:8: I am the LORD, that is My name.
Jeremiah 10:10: But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King.
Psalm 90:1-2: Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
The true God is the LORD God – or Jehovah God – of the Bible. He is the living and eternal God who always was, who is and always will be.
2. How many true Gods are there? How many Persons are true God?
Deuteronomy 6:4: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
1 Corinthians 8:4: There is no other God but one.
Matthew 28:19: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit….
2 Corinthians 13:14: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Isaiah 48:16-17: “Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord GOD and His Spirit have sent Me.” Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel….
Numbers 6:22-27: And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: “The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”’ “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”
1 John 5:7: For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.
There is only one true God, but the one true God is three distinct Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Yet there are not three Gods but one, for God is one. This teaching of the Three/One or Triune God is taught throughout the Bible, beginning in the very first chapter of Genesis and continuing through the last chapter of Revelation. (Study your Bible and find out for yourself.)
3. What else does God tell us of Himself in the Bible?
John 4:24: God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
Malachi 3:6: For I am the LORD, I do not change.
Psalm 102:27: You are the same, and Your years will have no end.
Genesis 17:1: I am Almighty God….
Luke 1:37: For with God nothing will be impossible.
Matthew 19:26: With God all things are possible.
Psalm 139:1-4: O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
John 21:17: Lord, You know all things….
Jeremiah 23:24: “Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?” says the LORD; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD.
Proverbs 15:3: The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.
Leviticus 19:2: I the LORD your God am holy.
Isaiah 6:3: Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!
Deuteronomy 32:4: A God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.
2 Timothy 2:13: He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
Psalm 145:8-9: The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.
Exodus 34:6-7: The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.
1 John 4:8: God is love.
The Bible teaches us much about the true God. We call some of these qualities and characteristics of God the attributes of God. God Himself tells us in His Word that He is eternal, unchangeable, all-powerful, all-knowing, present everywhere, holy, just, impartial and fair, faithful, good, merciful, kind, gracious and loving.
We believe that there is only one true God (Isaiah 44:6; I Corinthians 8:4). This God (called the LORD or JEHOVAH) is one divine Being or Essence, but three distinct Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (thus the name, Triune or Three/One God), each being eternal and equal in power and majesty, because each Person is the LORD God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; I John 5:7; Isaiah 48:16-17; John 1:1; Colossians 2:9; I Corinthians 3:16; Hebrews 9:14; I Peter 4:14). We believe that no one can worship or serve the Triune God except he believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God and the Savior of mankind from sin and its consequences (John 3:18,36; 5:23; 14:6; I John 2:23; 5:11-12). Hence, all who deny the Trinity of God (that God is three Persons) or the Unity of God (that God is one divine Being), or who do not trust in Jesus Christ, the Son, for salvation, do not worship and serve the true God.
[Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]
“Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.” Luke 2:46-47 (Read Luke 2:41-52)
It is amazing, isn’t it? Rather than returning with his parents and running with the other boys his age on their journey home, what did Jesus do? After three days, He was still in Jerusalem, in the temple, sitting among the teachers of God’s Word, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Jesus were astonished at His understanding and answers.
Some would imagine that Jesus, because He was and is the Son of God, was lecturing the teachers of the law. But it doesn’t say that. Instead, He was listening to them and asking them questions. We must remember that though Jesus had all knowledge, He humbled Himself and studied and learned the Scriptures just as we are enjoined to do by God in His Word (cf. Phil. 2:5-8; Col. 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:14-17).
As Jesus said (v. 49), He was about His Father’s business. He was learning and studying God’s Word. His delight was in the law of the LORD, and in His law He meditated day and night (Psalm 1:2). He loved the LORD God with all His heart and with all His soul and delighted in learning God’s Word.
The fact that He delighted in the LORD God and His Word and sought Him with the whole heart (cf. Psalm 37:4; 119:2) amazes us because we do not, as we are by nature since the fall, have such love for God or the desire to learn of Him and His ways. What would you have been doing at 12 years old? What do you do even yet today?
To be honest with you, I’ve heard complaints about sermons which are too long but seldom that they are too short. I’ve not had church members suggest we stay on into Sunday afternoons or, much less, into extra days to dig deeper into the Bible and consider its teaching. Yet, if we loved the LORD God with all our heart and soul and delighted in His Word, we just might do as Jesus did — continue on at church for days in the study of the Scriptures.
Jesus’ love for the Father and for the Word is evidence of His holy life in our stead. We come so far short of God’s commandments, but Jesus fulfilled them for us and then suffered and died on the cross and rose again that He might bear our punishment and win for us forgiveness and life everlasting in fellowship with God the Father.
When we acknowledge our sinfulness and our failures to keep God’s laws and look in faith to Jesus and His life and death in our stead, we obtain mercy and receive forgiveness from God and life eternal. Only through faith in Christ Jesus can we return to God and live.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for fulfilling in our stead all righteousness and paying the just debt of our sins by Your innocent sufferings and death upon the cross. Grant us faith in You and Your cross for pardon and forgiveness and give to us a sincere and ever-growing love for God and His Word. We pray in Your name. Amen.
[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]
In his second epistle (2 Peter 1:12-15), St. Peter wrote: “For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.”
Businesses and corporations often adopt a mission statement and goals to help them stay focused on what is truly important and to keep them from going off on tangents which waste company time and resources. And it is wise for individuals, too, to adopt a mission statement for their lives to keep them focused on what is truly important and to prevent them from wasting time and energy on things which are of no benefit in the long run.
Several years ago, I adopted a personal mission statement to make sure I made it my focus to make known to my children and grandchildren (and all who will hear me) the truths of God’s Word that they too might know and trust in their Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
As a theme verse, I would certainly include the following: “O God, You have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, your power to everyone who is to come” (Psalm 71:17-18).
I remind my children and fellow believers, again and again, to read and study their Bibles. Why? Because the Bible contains all we need that we might know and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. The Holy Spirit works through the Word to reveal to us Jesus Christ and to create faith in our hearts. Through God’s Word, we see our utter sinfulness and, through the Word, we are offered and receive by faith forgiveness for all our sins and life eternal for the sake of the innocent sufferings and death of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is why Paul reminded Timothy: “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14-17).
That is what Peter is also doing in His two letters to believers. He says this when he writes: “For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.”
While here in this world — and Peter knew his time was short — he reminded believers again and again of the precious promises they had heard before. In Jesus, they had a living hope. They had been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. They had now received mercy and were a part of God’s people — part of the family of God — through faith in Jesus Christ.
Peter, by the working of the Holy Spirit who moved Him to write and inspired the words he wrote, reminded his hearers of the message of God’s Word and still reminds us today of the precious truth upon which our faith rests.
As a called pastor, I have included my congregation in my family and in my mission statement. That is why I remind them, again and again, of the teaching of God’s Word. It’s why I teach them from the Scriptures. It’s why I encourage them to read their Bibles. It’s why I write and publish devotions and Scriptural lessons. It’s why I lift them up daily in my prayers.
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
It’s through the Scriptures that our faith in Christ is created, strengthened and preserved. That is why I direct people to the Scriptures and to the comfort God gives in His Word and through the Sacraments given us through God’s Word.
And Christian congregations should have a mission statement, too, which includes encouraging each other and building each other up in the true and saving faith through the hearing of God’s Word. This is especially important as we draw ever closer to the day of Christ’s return, and it’s also why it is so important for us to reach out to our fellow believers with the encouragement of the Holy Scriptures.
The Scriptures admonish us: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16; cf Hebrews 10:19-25).
I encourage you and will continue to remind you, again and again, to make it your mission statement to read and study the Scriptures, to come and hear the Scriptures and to receive the comfort and assurance of the Scriptures. And I encourage you to reach out with that comfort of the Scriptures to your family of believers.
Why? That none be lost to Christ’s kingdom! That we all continue to trust in Christ Jesus for forgiveness and life! That we continue in the true and saving faith unto life everlasting!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Author Pastor Randy Moll