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God Himself Is Judge

A Psalm of Asaph.

1The Mighty One, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.

3Our God comes; he does not keep silence;11Or May our God come, and not keep silence
before him is a devouring fire,
around him a mighty tempest.
4He calls to the heavens above
and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
5“Gather to me my faithful ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
6The heavens declare his righteousness,
for God himself is judge! Selah

7“Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
O Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
8Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
9I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
10For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
11I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.

12“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
13Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
14Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,22Or Make thanksgiving your sacrifice to God
and perform your vows to the Most High,
15and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

16But to the wicked God says:
“What right have you to recite my statutes
or take my covenant on your lips?
17For you hate discipline,
and you cast my words behind you.
18If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
and you keep company with adulterers.

19“You give your mouth free rein for evil,
and your tongue frames deceit.
20You sit and speak against your brother;
you slander your own mother's son.
21These things you have done, and I have been silent;
you thought that I33Or that the I am was one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.

22“Mark this, then, you who forget God,
lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
23The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”


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Ps 50:1-23. In the grandeur and solemnity of a divine judgment, God is introduced as instructing men in the nature of true worship, exposing hypocrisy, warning the wicked, and encouraging the pious.

1-4. The description of this majestic appearance of God resembles that of His giving the law (compare Ex 19:16; 20:18; De 32:1).

4. above—literally, "above" (Ge 1:7).

heavens … earth—For all creatures are witnesses (De 4:26; 30:19; Isa 1:2).

5. my saints—(Ps 4:3).

made—literally, "cut"

a covenant, &c.—alluding to the dividing of a victim of sacrifice, by which covenants were ratified, the parties passing between the divided portions (compare Ge 15:10, 18).

6. The inhabitants of heaven, who well know God's character, attest His righteousness as a judge.

7. I will testify—that is, for failure to worship aught.

thy God—and so, by covenant as well as creation, entitled to a pure worship.

8-15. However scrupulous in external worship, it was offered as if they conferred an obligation in giving God His own, and with a degrading view of Him as needing it [Ps 50:9-13]. Reproving them for such foolish and blasphemous notions, He teaches them to offer, or literally, "sacrifice," thanksgiving, and pay, or perform, their vows—that is, to bring, with the external symbolical service, the homage of the heart, and faith, penitence, and love. To this is added an invitation to seek, and a promise to afford, all needed help in trouble.

16-20. the wicked—that is, the formalists, as now exposed, and who lead vicious lives (compare Ro 2:21, 23). They are unworthy to use even the words of God's law. Their hypocrisy and vice are exposed by illustrations from sins against the seventh, eighth, and ninth commandments.

21, 22. God, no longer (even in appearance) disregarding such, exposes their sins and threatens a terrible punishment.

22. forget God—This denotes unmindfulness of His true character.

23. offereth praise—(Ps 50:14), so that the external worship is a true index of the heart.

ordereth … aright—acts in a straight, right manner, opposed to turning aside (Ps 25:5). In such, pure worship and a pure life evince their true piety, and they will enjoy God's presence and favor.




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