Psalm 50: God’s judgement

(23 verses, 2:00 to read)


What I am about to READ

God addresses the just and the wicked with reproaches for unbelief and crass sin.


In Psalm 50 God speaks in the first person and addresses two groups, first his own people in verse 7 “hear O my people, and I will speak…”  and then the wicked.  God chastises his own people for holding to a crass ritualism, by which they believed that God would be placated by sacrifices of bulls and burnt offerings.  Here God teaches us that it is faith alone which justifies and not the mere act of doing something, even though God commanded it.  God does not need the sacrificial animals, they are his already, even the cattle on a thousand hills (vs. 19).  But in the sacrifices He desires faith and trust on the part of the worshipper, total reliance on the deliverance of God.

We see this also in the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments.  Even though these are commanded by God, we are not righteous in the doing of them.  Outward works, whether the priestly sacrifices of the old covenant or the most evangelical council of Jesus to love neighbor and enemy do not justify in themselves, but are fruits of a trust and total reliance on the work of Jesus.

God then addresses the wicked.  He rebukes them on the grounds that they hate discipline and keep company with adulterers. Here God uses the work of the Law to condemn and call to repentance, in much the same was as John the Baptist prepared the way for the Gospel.  The Law drives to the comfort of the Gospel in Jesus.  Notice how the wicked are not rebuked for the unbelief, for they do not know what they do not believe in!  The law must be used.


Lord forgive me for my lack of hearing in Church.  It is so easy for me to think “I’ve heard this before” or “I wish that this was more interesting.” Give me ears to hear as I attend your divine service and hear of your love. Help us to not simply “go through the motions” but receive your gifts with glad hearts and thanksgiving.  Amen.


Pr. Ross

Faith Ev. Lutheran Church

Johnstown, Colorado


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