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.