Psalm 50 — What does God want? — Reading the Psalms


A Psalm of Asaph.

1 God, even God, the LORD, hath spoken,
And called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God hath shined forth.
3 Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence:
A fire shall devour before him,
And it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
4 He shall call to the heavens above,
And to the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 Gather my saints together unto me;
Those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness;
For God is judge himself.     Selah
7 Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
O Israel, and I will testify unto thee:
I am God, even thy God.
8 I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices;
And thy burnt offerings are continually before me.
9 I will take no bullock out of thy house,
Nor he-goats out of thy folds.
10 For every beast of the forest is mine,
And the cattle upon a thousand hills.
11 I know all the fowls of the mountains:
And the wild beasts of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry, I would not tell thee:
For the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
13 Will I eat the flesh of bulls,
Or drink the blood of goats?
14 Offer unto God the sacrifice of thanksgiving;
And pay thy vows unto the Most High:
15 And call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
16 But unto the wicked God saith,
What hast thou to do to declare my statutes;
And that thou hast taken my covenant in thy mouth?
17 Seeing thou hatest instruction,
And castest my words behind thee.
18 When thou sawest a thief, thou consentedst with him,
And hast been partaker with adulterers.
19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil,
And thy tongue frameth deceit.
20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother;
Thou slanderest thine own mother’s son.
21 These 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.
22 Now consider this, ye that forget God,
Lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver:
23 Whoso offereth the sacrifice of thanksgiving glorifieth me;
And to him that ordereth his conversation aright
Will I shew the salvation of God.

God speaks to his creation, will you listen? The revelation of God’s will and heart in word is indeed a miracle and a blessing. When he speaks, be it commending or condemning, we are blessed if we listen.

When God speaks out to the people in this psalm, what does he say? First, inverses 7-15, he speaks to his own children about their offerings. It is not that he scoffs at what they bring. Indeed, it was he who asked for sacrifice. Yet his words reveal the futility of such gifts. Honestly, think about this question, “If God were ever hungry, would he ask me for food?” If my gifts and sacrifices are so small, what then should I do “Offer unto God the sacrifices of thanksgiving”. Giving our heart and devotion – spending our days in thanksgiving and gratitude – these are the gifts and sacrifices that matter.

And what does God say to the wicked? Startin in vs. 16 he asks what they thought they were doing with his word. For to simply have the word of God on one’s tongue does not bring salvation. The tongue that speaks deceit has no room for God. The heart that lives with slander is itself deceived to think that God is some sort of corruptible or base human. God’s message to the wicked is clear: You do not understand who you are dealing with, but you will soon find out.

Let the words of this psalm impress God’s power on your heart. Try to answer the question, What does God want?


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