50: Judgment on Unrighteous Religious Rituals
psalm of Asaph.
Comments: A psalm that focuses on the realities behind
offering sacrifices. The Lord comes to judge [v.1-4] His covenant
people Israel [v.5,6]. It's not so much the sacrifices they bring
[v.7,8] because He does, after all, own everything anyway [v.9-13]
and for the righteous they are the way He has laid down in the
Law to satisfy their consciences when they want to approach Him
[v.14,15] and are expressions of the covenant between them. The
point is that those who offer sacrifices but still continue their
wickedness [v.16-20] will find they are subject to His judgment.
The fact that He has remained silent so far [v.21] should not
reassure them for He will judge the guilty [v.22] and bless the
innocent [v.23]. There is coming an accounting!]
God Almighty comes to judge His people
Mighty One, God, the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to where it
Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.
and will not be silent;
a fire devours before him,
and around him a tempest rages.
summons the heavens above,
and the earth, that he may judge his people:
The Righteous Judge calls His covenant people
to me this consecrated people,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
for he is a God of justice.
It's not about their sacrifices as such that He is concerned
my people, and I will speak;
I will testify against you, Israel:
I am God, your God.
bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices
or concerning your burnt offerings, which
are ever before me.
After all He owns everything so the sacrifices as such are meaningless
have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
know every bird in the mountains,
and the insects in the fields are mine.
I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is
I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
Nevertheless He has established the sacrificial system for them
to honour Him
thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor
But [implied] sacrifices are meaningless rituals for the wicked
to the wicked person, God says:
right have you to recite my laws
or take my covenant on your lips?
hate my instruction
and cast my words behind you.
you see a thief, you join with him;
you throw in your lot with adulterers.
use your mouth for evil
and harness your tongue to deceit.
sit and testify against your brother
and slander your own mother's son.
His silence has not been approval, He comes to judge and separate
you did these things and I kept silent,
you thought I was exactly like you.
But I now arraign you
and set my accusations before you.
this, you who forget God,
or I will tear you to pieces, with no
one to rescue you:
who sacrifice thank offerings honor me,
and to the blameless I will show my salvation.”
Thoughts: Very often the psalms shed light on various
aspects of life and this one shines the spotlight on those who
would seek to appear righteous by carrying out religious ritual
and yet continue in their various forms of wickedness. Their time
of accounting is coming!]
to Psa 51