Psalm 50 Call Upon Me in the Day of Trouble

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Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue:

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God. (vv 22-23)

We read this psalm as a bracing splash of cold water in the midst of our self-centered religious practice. The modern Church gives us countless opportunities to think that it exists for us and by us. As God speaks directly to the assembled worshippers, He not so gently reminds us that this is not the case. It is all about Him and in these verses He calls His people to account.

Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you: I am God your God.

I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or 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 creatures of the field 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 upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (vv 7-15)

God needs nothing from us. We need everything from Him. Give Him alone the glory.

 

Image by Lawrence OP

Psalm 37 – Turn From Evil and Do Good

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I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a green tree in its native soil, but he soon passed away and was no more;

though I looked for him, he could not be found.

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. (vv 35-37)

Psalm 37 presents a compilation of wisdom regarding the clear differences to be noted between the righteous and the wicked. It voices a warning against succumbing to the temptation of taking the easy way out that might involve gray areas in our behaviors. The first verses set the tone:

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. (vv 1-2)

Every day we see those around who are not followers of Christ but who seem to be blessed. They have money, possessions, and good health while members of our own church are suffering. They may even boast of how they gamed the system or gained their fortunes in illicit ways while those who walk the narrow path scrape by, month by month. Two temptations present themselves; the invitation to follow them in their unrighteous behavior and worse, the temptation to abandon the narrow path because we do not see God correcting the unrighteousness in His world.

The psalmist addresses these issues, knowing the attraction of turning one’s face from the goals. We must remember to consider all things in terms of God’s time rather than the limited perspective of our few years here in this world. We tend toward demanding immediate action and justice whereas God is more expansive in his timekeeping. He views things eternally, knowing that His perfect justice will be visited upon every human being.

A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.

But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. (vv 10-11)

This psalm is a great soul-strengthener when you have moments of temptation. Keep the eternal in mind and refuse to succumb to the fleeting moments of this life. Trust in Him and and His righteousness.

The days of the blameless are known to the Lord, and their inheritance will endure forever. (v 18)

 

Photo by Aldrin_Muya

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