Tuesday, May 10, 2022

2022.05.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 50

Read Psalm 50

Questions from the Scripture text: Who wrote this Psalm (superscript)? Who has spoken (Psalm 50:1a)? To whom (verse 1b) When/where (verse 1c)? Who is coming (Psalm 50:3a)? How does Psalm 50:2b describe this? From where will He come (verse 2a)? What will it be like/called at that time? And what will His coming from it be like (verse 3b–c)? What will He do from where to where (Psalm 50:4)? In order to do what? What does God command in Psalm 50:5a? What does He call them? On what basis are they saints, and on what basis are they to gather to Him (verse 5b)? Who/what declares what in this gathering (Psalm 50:6a)? About which role of God (verse 6b)? Whom does He command to do what in Psalm 50:7a? What speech will He make (verse 7b)? How does He begin (verse 7c)? For what is He not rebuking them at this point (Psalm 50:8a–b)? How frequently has this been done (verse 8c)? What doesn’t God want (Psalm 50:9)? Why doesn’t He need them (Psalm 50:10-11)? What impossibility does Psalm 50:12a suppose? What would God still not do? Why not (verse 12b)? What answer and tone does Psalm 50:13 expect? What two things does God command instead (Psalm 50:14a, b)? And what third (Psalm 50:15a)? What will He do (verse 15b)? With what result? Whom does God address now in Psalm 50:16a? What don’t they have a right to do (verse 16b)? What else (verse 16c)? What does their rejection of the alone-way of the sacrifice of Psalm 50:5b prove about them (Psalm 50:17)? What commandment have they broken in Psalm 50:18a? And how? What commandment in verse 18b? How? What commandment in Psalm 50:19b? How does verse 19a describe this? Against whom have they done it (Psalm 50:20a)? Why is this so unnatural (verse 20b)? What perceptible response of God had there been (Psalm 50:21a)? What conclusion had they drawn from this (verse 21b)? But what will God do (verse 21c)? In what manner (verse 21d)? What are we doing, if we think like this (Psalm 50:22a)? And what does God command such ones to do? And if they fail to “consider” then what will God do (verse 22b)? And who can save from this (verse 22c)? What should we do, if we want to glorify God (Psalm 50:23a)? And what life will we then live (verse 23b)? And what reward will we then receive (verse 23c)?

Covenant Past
This Psalm literally calls the church back to Sinai. Zion, in this case is the heavenly Zion (the perfection of beauty, Psalm 50:2), but when He comes to earth, “a fire devours before Him” (Psalm 50:3b), and it “exceedingly whirlwinds” (verse 3c). There, He gathers His saints, who have made covenant with Him by sacrifice (Psalm 50:5). Just three months prior to Exodus 19–20, God had designated and bound them to Himself by the Passover lamb.

Covenant Future
Those things were the past, even for Asaph. He reminds us that the heavens still continuously declare His righteousness (Psalm 50:6a, cf. Psalm 19). And he tells us that one of the reasons for this is that He is still Judge (Psalm 50:6b), and there is a reckoning coming. 

The Psalm ends by saying “consider this” (Psalm 50:22-23). It demands to be considered, meditated upon. Why? Because those who do not think about the judgment to come will be “torn in pieces” by the living God (verse 22b), and who can deliver you from that (verse 22c)?

Apart from meditation upon His Word, we would forget God (verse 22a). In fact, the way that we are living now can expose to us that we are forgetting Him already. This is exactly why we need a Psalm that reminds us of His glory. One of the ways that God gives us grace to worship Him with reverence and awe is by reminding us that He is a consuming fire (cf. Hebrews 12:28–29).

Remembering God in the Present
Worship Him from the heart, not just externals (Psalm 50:7-15). Why did God command sacrifices? Not because He enjoys steak (Psalm 50:9a, Psalm 50:10b, Psalm 50:13a) or goat (Psalm 50:9b, Psalm 50:13b) or poultry (Psalm 50:11a). God isn’t needy at all (Psalm 50:10-12)! He commands sacrifices because He wants the heart of worship: thanksgiving (Psalm 50:14a), and commitment (verse 14b), and our neediness/calling upon Him (Psalm 50:15a). He has no neediness, but is glorified by meeting us in our neediness (verse 15b).

Worship Him with the life, not just worship services (Psalm 50:16-21). Now the Lord addresses not just the “superficial” believer but the callously hypocritical. It’s possible for believers to “declare God’s statutes” (verse 16b) and “take God’s covenant in their mouth” (verse 16c) and still be wicked (verse 16a). 

There are those who as soon as they’re done at worship and acting churchy (Psalm 50:16), they toss God’s words aside (Psalm 50:17), and proceed to live against them. They’re not the thief, but they look the other way for him (Psalm 50:18a). They’re not the adulterers, but they take portions with them (verse 18b). They positively commit seemingly “little” sins like gossip or lying (Psalm 50:19), even against their near relations (Psalm 50:20). 

Even though worship-goers have God’s Word, they can misinterpret His patience as silence (Psalm 50:21a) and actually lull themselves into thinking that God is ok with how they live (verse 21b, cf. Romans 2:4)! But God will most certainly call every deed into account (Psalm 50:21c–d, cf. Romans 2:5Psalm 50:16). If we are genuinely meeting Him in worship, then we will surely know that His holiness and justice will not ignore any sin!

Prepare to Meet Thy God
How, then, can we pursue giving God the heart and not just the lips, and giving God the life and not just the worship service? By giving praise from the heart (Psalm 50:23a) and ordering our conduct righteously (verse 23b), but especially by coming through the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (Psalm 50:5b, Psalm 50:23c). With Christ as our sacrifice and salvation, Even sinners such as we are will be called saints by God (Psalm 50:5a) and made saints by God!

How can you guard against just going through the motions in worship? What can you do to bring the glory of God and the Word of God out of the worship service and into the rest of your life? Are you ready to meet God?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are the Mighty One, the great I AM. And You gather Your saints now through the sacrifice of Christ, even as You will do again on the last, great day. Shine forth, O God! Do not be silent! Make Yourself known to us! And make us to offer You our hearts in thanksgiving. And make us to offer You our hearts in our commitments. And make us to offer You our hearts in our praying. And don’t let us be forgetful of You, but make us to order our lives according to Your Word and Your worship, which we ask through Christ, through Whose sacrifice we are bound to You in covenant, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP49A “Hear This, All Earth’s Nations” or TPH49 “Hear This, All You Peoples”

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