Psalm 50

Psalm 50  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
This magnificent Psalm presents the Lord conducting the judgment of the house of Israel in the last days. The judgment is set (Psa. 50:1-61<<A Psalm of Asaph.>> The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. 2Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. 3Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. 4He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. 5Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. 6And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah. (Psalm 50:1‑6)), and then the books are opened, and out of them two distinct charges are read, as we shall presently see. The remnant are separated from this judgment by one simple characteristic: “Those who had made a covenant with God by sacrifice.” He does not describe them by any lengthened account of what they had either done or suffered for Him; but He speaks of them as believers, as sinners trusting in the blood and sacrifice of the Saviour. This is enough for the purpose. As Jesus, introducing the saints to the notice of the Father, tells of them in the same one character, saying, “They have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me” (John 17).
Jehovah then prefers His charges against Israel. He indicts them for ignorance of His true worship—in the same particulars as St. Paul charges the Gentiles in his sermon at Athens (Acts 17). And it is simply this; man in his religion treats God as one who is to be ministered to and to be appeased, instead of as the blessed giver and reconciler himself. This is the grand difference between human and divine religion. God’s religion is grace, man’s religion is works. Israel had loaded the altar with offerings, but did not use God as a deliverer (Psa. 50:7-157Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. 8I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. 9I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. 10For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. 11I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. 12If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. 13Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? 14Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: 15And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. (Psalm 50:7‑15)). Such is the first charge read out of the books when the judgment is set. The second is then moved against them. It concerns their practical life and conversation, as the former did their religion and worship. It condemns their conduct as astray also. Religious they were, but unrighteous also (Psa. 50:16-2116But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? 17Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. 18When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. 19Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. 20Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. 21These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. (Psalm 50:16‑21)).
Upon all this the Lord addresses a word of warning, of rebuke, and of exhortation, that Israel may heed it in time, ere the judgment thus announced enters, and there be no escape. Let them learn the religion of praise, and the conduct of righteousness, and thus be duly and happily on the road to salvation or glory (Psa. 50:22-2322Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. 23Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God. (Psalm 50:22‑23)).
It is well, we may say on this Psalm, that the heart be established with grace, not with meats. God’s sanctuary is furnished with grace—man’s with meats or carnal observances. If it be God’s sanctuary we enter, we shall do so with praise, and leave it to walk in a well-ordered conversation onward to salvation or the kingdom as here shown us. If it be man’s sanctuary we enter—the “spirit of bondage” will fill us—“meats” or religiousness will occupy us, but no real renewed devotedness to God. God’s truth will free the conscience, and make us happy in Him through boundless riches of grace, and obedient to Him in ways of righteousness. Man’s lie or man’s religion will keep us in fear, and leave us unrenewed.