Bow your head and heart before the Lord now and offer your worship as you prepare to read his Word.
Read Psalm 50:1-23
A psalm of Asaph. The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets.  From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.  Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages.  He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people:  “Gather to me this consecrated people, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”  And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.  “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God.  I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.  I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens,  for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.  If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.  Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?  “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,  and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”  But to the wicked person, God says: “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips?  You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.  When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers.  You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit.  You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son.  When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you. But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you.  “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you:  Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat does God teach us about himself in this passage?
I once preached a sermon in which I described a recent vacation as “awesome.” An earnest student came to me at the end. “David, only God is awesome,” she said. She was right, of course. How this psalm puts us in our place, as we see the greatness of God and our own human frailty! Our God summons earth and heaven to do his bidding (1-6); we can’t even control the weather. There is nothing our God lacks, no help we can give him (7-15), yet he attentively bends down to receive our flawed and fragile worship. He provides laws for our well-being (16-23), yet watches his creatures embrace all sorts of immorality, making him in their own image, and forgetting or even denying that he exists. It is a frightening psalm. How dare I defy this awesome God? But in the end, it is good news. This same God loves us and longs to receive from us the sort of worship that is both an expression of our longing for him and the means by which he can pour his saving grace into our lives. God is awesome in majesty, but even more awesome in intimacy (Phil. 2:5-11).
Find the words of the hymn “How Great Thou Art” and make them into a prayer of gratitude and surrender.
Great God and Father, You truly are an awesome God. I gladly offer You my praise and worship.
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