16 “But to the wicked God says: ‘What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips? 17 For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you. 18 If 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. 20 You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. 21 These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I 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! 23 The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!’”
Asaph the psalmist records the speaker of this Psalm 50 as “The Mighty One, God the LORD” (Psalm 50:1), as the LORD is laying out judgements of two groups. The faithful ones in the first half (Psalm 50:1-15), and now the second half is speaking to an unfaithful bunch of hypocrites who apparently use His name and claim the benefits of relationship, but without any reciprocal obedience or gratitude. From verses 17 to 20 he lays out the charges. Do any seem familiar or hit close to home? In verse 21, He shares that He’s been patient, but if in His silence you’ve mistaken that for approval, hopefully Psalm 50:22 will be a wakeup call.
When God Almighty says He “will tear you apart, and there be none to deliver,” (v.22) who can stop Him? What higher court is there to appeal His ruling? What army are you going to call to deliver you from the hand of the One who created and rules the universe? As it is written, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) It is a grace-filled God who ends this message with a hopeful solution even to the wicked, “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly (repentant) I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50:23) So, to the thankful, receptive heart God shows the way. As Jesus tells us, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” (John 6:44) and again, “…no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:65)
When we come to the Father with a repentant heart filled with gratitude, He is more than willing to show us the way of salvation, His only begotten Son, Jesus. For as Jesus said, “…I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) You see, though God lays out clearly the charges, no one knows more fully than He how imperfect we are or how much help we need. We approach with a heart of gratitude a patient and loving Creator. We receive Peter’s words of hope like a drink of cool water on a hot day, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Prayer for today: Gracious heavenly Father, we come before You with a heart filled with gratitude, repentant of those areas in our lives that have kept us from You. Thank You for drawing us near to Your Son, Jesus Christ, through whose sacrifice we have newness of life in You and in whose Name we humbly pray. Amen!