God Himself Is Judge
A Psalm of Asaph.
50 The Mighty One, God the LORD,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
Our God comes; he does not keep silence;
before him is a devouring fire,
around him a mighty tempest.
He calls to the heavens above
and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
“Gather to me my faithful ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
The heavens declare his righteousness,
for God himself is judge! Selah
“Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
O Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
But to the wicked God says:
“What right have you to recite my statutes
or take my covenant on your lips?
For you hate discipline,
and you cast my words behind you.
If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
and you keep company with adulterers.
“You give your mouth free rein for evil,
and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your brother;
you slander your own mother’s son.
These things you have done, and I have been silent;
you thought that I was one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.
“Mark this, then, you who forget God,
lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”
Psalm 50 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Our battlefields are different but they bring about the same feelings at times. We feel exhausted, weary from the ongoing things that are seemingly never-ending. We wonder where God is and why He has not moved? We question why things are allowed to go on? This is particularly true when it comes to those who are opposed in their lives to the things of God. Battlefields are different for each of us but many stand there today with these questions and more.
Psalm 50 speaks toward some realities of which we must cling. He will not be silent (verse 3) even though at the moment it appears to be the case. He is God and is in control (verse 7). He calls out the wicked in their works against Him (verses 16-21). He shows the way to restoration through repentance (verses 22-23).
Although our battlefields may see no movement these facts remain steadfast. He does not take lightly those who come against His people and the work proclaiming His name.
There are several realities we must cling to as we stand on our battlefields. God will judge people who treat Him lightly or without a thought. This is the same for those who come against His people. Throughout this psalm, He calls out those who speak superficially of Him but have no relationship. Oh, they may bring their sacrifices and be going through the spiritual motions of things but their hearts are far from Him. He knows this. Their praise and sacrifice are hollow, empty, nothing. The fruit of their lives testify to this! As the psalm begins it seems apparent He is finally ready to judge those who oppose Him and His work. The time of judgment has come. More interesting though is not only is He coming against those who don’t know Him but those who are His own people. These are the ones who claim to be of Him but absolutely nothing in their lives testify to the relationship. And as even Peter states in his first letter, God’s judgment begins first with His own people. (1 Peter 4:17)
Yet in all this, here is what we must remember. Although God may seem silent currently on the battlefield you stand, He is ever watchful and knows what is actually going on. This silence is not winking at the sin in their lives or does not speak toward His indifference. Instead, this loving God of ours is withholding punishment and still giving time for their repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
So, what does this mean for us who are currently in the fray of such silence? What does this speak of in regards to our own battlefield of which we’re weary?
Don’t give up hope. Turn your trust toward Him. The sheer fact remains He is in control and nothing has slipped through the cracks. He will move when the timing is right and yes, victory and relief will come! Lean into your Father for the perspective you need to endure. Hold true to the promises He has given and believe His timing is right. As you wait, praise Him for His goodness and yes, His victory!
Psalm 50 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
What does our praise look like when we face trouble and adversity? Or, do we praise at all?
Psalms 50:14-15 ESV Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, 15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
When we read this verse, it makes a lot of sense in theory. However, realistically, it’s not always this simple, right? For example, we may call upon the Lord today and see nothing about our circumstances change. We may praise Him tomorrow and find our situation has worsened. I personally get agitated with those who have impatient spiritual expectations for such promises. “You just don’t have enough faith,” some will say. “There is probably a hidden sin issue somewhere,” others might remark. Those who are quick to give advice and slow to listen quite possibly only know God on a superficial level. He’s just a genie who responds accordingly to the commands. If He doesn’t, well.. it must be something we’re doing wrong.
And while those statements certainly *may* be true (lack of faith & sin issue), they ultimately are just a rubber stamp answer to someone’s complex and urgent life issues. Without knowing details or having a solid relationship with the individual, the statement itself is arrogant, insensitive, and completely rude. What I find interesting is that we find much deeper answers in Scripture (imagine that!).
Take the life of Elisha the prophet as an example. He was a righteous man. Through the Holy Spirit, he performed unbelievable miracles including the resurrection of the Shunammite’s son (2Ki 4:34), the healing of Naaman (2Ki 5:14), and the resurrection of the man touched by his bones (2Ki 13:21). However, we also read in 2 Kings 13 that Elisha falls sick with a disease and dies. The same righteous man who healed sickness and raised people from the dead was struck with a terminal illness himself. Did he not have enough faith to heal himself? Did he have a sin issue? The Bible gives absolutely no indication that either of these are true. His body was human just like all of us, and it was prone to disease and infection. There is no spiritual reason given for the illness and death of Elisha.
Then we move to the apostle Paul. He also performed countless miracles and was no doubt a pioneer for the Christian faith. He prayed for a thorn to be removed from his flesh which was allowed by God to torment him. We read that God allowed this to happen because “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So, because God considered it something that was required in order for Paul to be the follower he needed to be, Paul went on considering it a gift and a blessing. No sin issue mentioned. No lack of faith, either. In fact, Paul boasted in this weakness because God connected His grace to His power. Paul knew that through struggle, hardship, persecution, and torment, God’s power was becoming a reality in his life.
Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of my point. He embraced God’s will for Him to become weak (crucifixion) before becoming strong (resurrection).
So, what’s the point and how does this apply to Psalm 50? I return to my original question. What does it look like to praise and worship God in the midst of trouble and adversity? Are you hyper-focused on the solution you want rather than what God may be doing currently? Are you wrongly applying rubber stamp theology to a situation where God is asking you to dig deeper? And finally, are you spending your time slandering man or worshipping God?
He is worthy of our praise and He *has* delivered us. The promise spoken of here in Psalm 50 was accomplished at the cross.
Psalms 50:23 ESV The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”
The daily battle that you face may or may not change today. Will you worship Him? Will you praise Him for what He’s already done?