Today’s Readings: Psalm 50
The psalmist projects forward to judgement day, with not just God’s people, but the whole earth summoned before the ‘courtroom’ of God.
‘The Mighty One, God, the Lord speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets … He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people;’ Psalm 50: 1 & 4
There are those who meticulously keep the religious order of ceremonies …
‘I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings which are ever before me …’ vs8
… but it would appear it was more about ‘ticking the box’ so to speak, than with a thankful heart or obedience in the action, or prayerful reliance on God.
‘Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfil you’re your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honour me.’ vs14-15
And then there are the second group of people called ‘wicked’, who can narrate the law but fail to keep it.
‘What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? vs16
‘You hate my instruction …
When you see a thief you join him …
You use your mouth for evil …
You speak continually against your brother …’ vs 17-20
This side of the cross there is no longer any need for us to bring physical sacrifices or burnt offerings but it causes me to stop and consider where I might have slipped into a pattern of attitude of ‘ticking the box’.
And as I go about life each day, do not just the words of my lips, but do my actions bring credit or discredit to God?
But in the same way the psalm starts with judgement, it also ends with hope, for the psalmist is peaking to God’s people about a judgement to come, with still and opportunity to take God’s extended hand of salvation.
‘He who sacrifices thank offerings honours me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.’ Vs 23
It’s a sobering psalm to read and easy to see others described in the words, but I know there will come a day when I will be called before the judgement throne to give account for my life. But there is forgiveness in repentance, with the joy of knowing that the salvation I have in Christ is not by anything I’ve done, but simply by the grace of God.
‘The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.’ Galatians 2:20-21