Psalm 50

Today is day one of my Lent Psalm series of blogs. I’m not really sure what they will look like, but here we go!

We read Psalm 50 today in chapel, so I figured it might be a fun place to start.

1 The Mighty One, God, the LORD,
   speaks and summons the earth
   from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
2 From Zion, perfect in beauty,
   God shines forth.
3 Our God comes
   and will not be silent;
a fire devours before him,
   and around him a tempest rages.
4 He summons the heavens above,
   and the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 “Gather to me this consecrated people,
   who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
6 And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
   for he is a God of justice.

 7 “Listen, my people, and I will speak;
   I will testify against you, Israel:
   I am God, your God.
8 I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices
   or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
9 I have no need of a bull from your stall
   or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
   and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains,
   and the insects in the fields are mine.
12 If I were hungry I would not tell you,
   for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
   or drink the blood of goats?

 14 “Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
   fulfill your vows to the Most High,
15 and call on me in the day of trouble;
   I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

 16 But to the wicked person, God says:

   “What right have you to recite my laws
   or take my covenant on your lips?
17 You hate my instruction
   and cast my words behind you.
18 When you see a thief, you join with him;
   you throw in your lot with adulterers.
19 You use your mouth for evil
   and harness your tongue to deceit.
20 You sit and testify against your brother
   and slander your own mother’s son.
21 When 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.

 22 “Consider this, you who forget God,
   or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you:
23 Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me,
   and to the blameless I will show my salvation.”

Our God comes; he does not keep silence. Another translation says it this way, May our God come, and not keep silent.

After that line this Psalm gets a bit terrifying. God is coming to judge and to tear to pieces the one who forgets God. I think that, for me, it is important to remember that our God is still the God who judges and has wrath despite that he is also the loving Father and the suffering Jesus. It is interesting beacuse yesterday in one of my classes (contemporary Christian thought) we were talking about a certain theologian named Pannenberg. It was the thought of this theologian that (and by all means I am not going to do justice to this in my own words but I will try) it is not until after something has come to completion that we are able to see that what has happened in the end has been true all along. I’m not sure that directly applies here, but when I read that statement “May our God come and not keep silent” it made me think of a people who are longing for their God (indeed, OUR God) to come and rescue them from whatever struggles they are dealing with at that time.They pray that God will not keep silent. And it is after that prayer asking God to come and not keep silent that God comes, and the rest of the Psalm testifies to the fact that he sure as heck does not keep silent. He judges those who are against Him. He testifies against Israel, His own people. Our God is a God of justice who will not come quietly and let everything that is wrong remain. It is interesting how we may not see the Good, Loving God in these judgments when they come, but when all is said and done I think that we might be able to look back and see that God’s goodness was all throughout everything all along.

May OUR God come, and not keep silent.

That is the prayer of the people. They want deliverance and in the end they bring judgment on themselves. But they still pray it. I think also it seems that a lot of the time today we think of God as so other (which he very much is) that we forget that he is OUR God. We are His and He is a God FOR us. In the first verse of this Psalm it declares that the Might One, God the LORD speaks and summons the eath from the rising of the sun to its setting. God summons us, He is calling us. We are His creation and he is summoning us. Should we not then also summon Him that he might come?

May this be our prayer also, because OUR God is a God who shows up; and he most definitely will not keep silent.

May OUR God come, and not keep silent.

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