In Spirit and In Truth
Lord Jesus, You are faithful and true. Your love never changes and You never give up on me. I bless You.
Read Psalm 50:1-23
A psalm of Asaph.
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.
What “thank offerings” (14) can you give to God, and in what ways can you honor him this week (15)?
The scene is a cosmic courtroom, represented by Jerusalem, and the time is all time (1). The audience consists of those who made a covenant with God. The speaker is God, calling upon them to renew their vows. He speaks with authority, for he is a God of faithfulness, one who does what is right according to his relationship with his people. He comes to judge–not necessarily to condemn (as we often think of judging), but to decide between his people (John 3:17,18).
In this context the Israelite mind turned immediately to sacrifices, which God quickly dismisses in some memorable lines of poetry (7-13), mocking the attitudes of pagan religions (12) which had crept into Jewish thinking. No, what God wants of us is something much more personal. He has words for the faithless (16; “wicked person” in most translations), reminiscent of Jesus’ words to the Pharisees (Matt. 23:23). How easily we can tune out at a mention of the Pharisees!
The temptation to seek favor with God by outward things has never gone away. Do we deceive ourselves by the value we place on “Christian” practices? Do we measure ourselves by the amount of our giving to the church, our regular attendance at services, and our meticulous observance of the Sabbath? What God wants first in our worship is faithfulness (without our neglect of these other good things). He finds this faithfulness in ears that listen to his words and hands that do them, a mind that separates itself from thieves and adulterers, lips that speak truth from the heart. I have always loved Psalm 15, which mirrors this psalm beautifully with some specific examples that speak powerfully across the centuries. Jesus made the same point with the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).
If God were to address you through this psalm, what would he single out? What would you do about it?
Lord, I often sing and speak way beyond where I am. Today, I put on the “belt of sincerity” (Eph. 6:14) so my words reflect my walk with You.
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