Thursday, June 28, 2007

Psalm 50:17

You hate my instruction
and cast my words behind you.
(NIV)
I don't have the time or the blog space to get into this passage the way I would like to. Maybe one of these days I will get into it a little bit on my other blog. But for now I do want to mention the irony of these people. According to the previous verse, it seems like they are reciting God's laws, but now they are hating His instruction.

It seems strange to me, but as I think about it, not only do I know people like this, I also have been like this at points in my life. Take for example the guy who wouldn't dare take a drink of alcohol, but he is mean and cruel to his family and friends. Or what about the person who is so careful about what they watch on TV, they even give a little oh my! when they hear a bad word, but in their private life or around their co-workers they may not use the exact words but their tempers flare up at the slightest thing.

We all struggle with duality, but the people that are being talked to in these next few passages epitomize it. They use God's words when they want, but when God tries to teach them something about their own selfish heart, they despise Him.

Question your own duality today. Re-evaluate and determine if you fall into this category.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Psalm 50:16

But to the wicked, God says:
"What right have you to recite my laws
or take my covenant on your lips?
(NIV)
Here is the shift in the passage. The main thing that I want to point out is that the rest of the passage is addressed to the wicked.

In the scriptures, especially in the Old Testament, there are two groups of people: the righteous and the wicked. Now, we are all wicked at birth, but when a person follows after God's ways and Christ's blood has cleansed him from sin, then we are considered righteous. This is not because of our own righteousness, but because of Christ's righteousness that has been imparted to us. God sees Christ's righteousness when He sees us.

Notice though that in this passage the wicked are people that are reciting God's laws and speaking His covenants. This is something that would have been taking place in a place of worship or with other believers. The point that I am trying to make, and that the passage is pointing out is that not all people who claim with their mouth are truly righteous.

There are some harsh warnings for people who are in this circumstance, but there are also some ways to tell if you are one of these people. Consider reading the book of I John. Here is some of it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Psalm 50:15

and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me."
(NIV)
Most of us have had a "day of trouble." Some of the trouble is big, some of it is small, but regardless of the size of the trouble, who do you call?

There are plenty of people who are outward looking Christians, but when the day of trouble comes, they do not call upon God. They turn to the god of anger or the god of determination or maybe the god of personal experience and personal wisdom. (Do you get what I am saying?) I am not trying to be confusing, but so many people simply turn into themselves. Especially in this day that we are living in. I don't know if you have heard of the book, The Secret, but it is essentially all about that. You are your own god. There is nothing new there, people have been saying that since the serpent said it in the garden.

Some people do turn to God, but it is brief. He promises deliverance, but do you love Him enough to trust His deliverance? Deliverance doesn't always look like the Cancer being healed, or you current spouse disappearing and a new and improved one is at your doorstep. A sign of the righteous is that you will honor Him, no matter what kind of deliverance He brings.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Psalm 50:14

Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
(NIV)
After all of this talk about how much God does not need these offerings, He still says to do them, He still says to keep your vows. You see, the problem wasn't with the sacrifices, it was with the heart. God may not need us to do these things, but He still wants us to.

I read a passage in Deuteronomy 8 the other day that was talking about the Children of Israel's wanderings. God told them that He was testing them during that time to see if they would keep His commandments. But this is not just for His sake. He already knows whether or not we will be obedient, that is why it also tells us that He let them go hungry so that they will understand that they need to live by God's Word.

Living in God's way is the best way to live. God knows this, that is why He is telling us to do these things. The trials come so that we might see how much we need to depend on Him.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Psalm 50:13

Do I eat the flesh of bulls
    or drink the blood of goats?

(NIV)


Now we are getting to one of the central themes of this chapter, the truth that God is fundamentally not like us.

When we were created, we were created in His image, in His likeness. So, in one sense, we are like Him. We are a reflection of who He is, but after the fall, that reflection became tainted. Sin has marred our very natures, and this passage is reminding us that even though we have a few similarities to God, He does not resemble us, we are trying to resemble Him.

There is so much more that I could say about this. I mean, this is one of the core issues with mankind. We are trying to be our own gods, when what should be happening is that we should be submitting ourselves to Him and enjoying His transforming us to the image of Christ.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Psalm 50:12

If I were hungry I would not tell you,
    for the world is mine, and all that is in it.

(NIV)


Here we have more of the God's ownership/lordship. The world is His and everything in it. We can be servants to God, but unlike a lord here on earth, God the Lord does not stand in need of His servants. He is not waiting at the table for His dinner to arrive.

Let the service we do be because we love Him, not because we think that we are filling some heavenly need.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Psalm 50:11

I know every bird in the mountains,
and the creatures of the field are mine.

(NIV)


This is more a continuation of the previous verse, but I would like to point out the closeness of this ownership. Notice that He not only owns all, but He knows all. Even the birds up in the mountains, He knows each one.

This reminds me of the passage where Jesus tells us that not one sparrow will fall without His knowledge.

We serve an intimate, personal God who has knowledge and ownership of all things. He is truly worthy of our praise.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Psalm 50:10

for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.

(NIV)


The reason that he doesn't need the stuff that we have, is because it is already His. He is Lord of all. He is over all things, and by Him all things exist. When we choose to serve Him and offer things to Him, we are simply acknowledging His Lordship. We are being thankful for all that He has given us, and offering back to Him.

Everything that you see today, belongs to God. No matter how perverted or twisted man has made it, it ultimately belongs to Him. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess this great Lordship. Why not start today?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Psalm 50:9

I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,

(NIV)


Let us not ever think that we are doing God some great service when we are obedient. God does not need us. He wants us.

The things that we do, even our missions and our churches and the like, do not meet some cosmic need that God has. He could do all things without us, but the great cosmic miracle is that he wants us. He wants to use us. He wants our desires to be fulfilled in Him.

But we so often forget this and we begin to do our duties and think that God is pleased because we are helping Him out. He doesn't need our help to get things accomplished.

Chuck that self-esteem today, and instead choose to esteem Christ.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Psalm 50:8

I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices
    or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.

(NIV)


In this passage, the people that God is speaking to have been doing all the right stuff, so to speak. At least they thought they were. They are being testified against by the judge Himself, and He starts off by saying that He is not rebuking them for their sacrifices. The sacrifices that are ever before Him. So, they are doing these things that God has commanded, but they are still being testified against.

What could He say about us, if we wanted to translate this over to our situations. Maybe He would say, I don't rebuke you for your regular church attendance. Or, I don't rebuke you for tithes and offerings. Possibly he would say, I don't rebuke you because you gave up smoking and drinking.

There might be many things that could be considered sacrifices in our lives, but the Christian life doesn't meet its completion with these things. I have known many a man who thought that being a Christian meant that they were at church every time the doors were open, they paid their tithes, they were still faithful in their marriage, etc., etc. But it ended with these things. There were so many areas of their life that God wasn't allowed to step His foot into.

Is God in all areas of your life? What might you be rebuked for?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Psalm 50:7

"Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
    O Israel, and I will testify against you:
    I am God, your God.

(NIV)


The first word in this verse is the word Hear. It is an important word, that many times we look over. We skim past it onto the rest of the verse, when sometimes, it is emphasis of that verse.

In this verse, for example, we can see who is talking: it is God, our God. We can see what He is saying: He is testifying against us. We know who He is talking to: the people of Israel, and more importantly, they are His people. But I would attest that the emphasis of the whole verse is that we need to Hear this. The idea here is this: Listen up People, I am getting ready to speak!

As any parent could attest to, listening is less about sound waves, and more about the mind and the heart. Jesus spoke to many people while he walked the soil of this earth, but there were relatively few who really heard what He was saying. He even said that his parables were to let those who are blind see and those who thought they could see to be blinded.

The idea is that you must first realize that you need to hear, before you can hear.

So I leave you with this, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Deuteronomy, Psalm 115, Isaiah 6, Isaiah 32, Jeremiah 5, Jeremiah 6, Matthew 11, Matthew 13, Acts 7, Acts 28, Romans 11

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Psalm 50:6

And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    for God himself is judge.
        Selah

(NIV)


What a wonderful judge we have. He is not like the judges that proliferate our judiciary systems of this modern world. He is a righteous judge. He is the author and judge of His own laws.

Because of this, the heavens themselves proclaim this righteousness.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Psalm 50:5

"Gather to me my consecrated ones,
    who made a covenant with me by sacrifice."

(NIV)


These are His words as He summons the earth.

Being in the Old Testament, the words, "covenant with me by sacrifice" are important words. These signify that God is talking about His people, the children of Israel. They are His people because on at least some outward level they have made a profession of faith. They have followed in obedience by making a covenant with God and by offering their sacrifices to Him.

If this is real and genuine, then they are the consecrated ones. They are the ones who are set apart for His use.

Times are different now. The one true sacrifice has been made, but the idea is still the same. True faith in Him, in His sacrifice, and you will be in the crowd of the consecrated ones.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Psalm 50:4

He summons the heavens above,
and the earth, that he may judge his people:
(NIV)
For some people, it is easy to think of God as a judge. For others it is difficult and almost repulsive to think of God as a judge.

Regardless of how you feel, he is a judge.

How should this knowledge affect your day to day life?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Psalm 50:3

Our God comes and will not be silent;
    a fire devours before him,
    and around him a tempest rages.

(NIV)


This is a side of God that we don't like to focus on, unless we are thinking about how others have hurt us. Sometimes we like to quote these verses when we are seeing how the world is turning and how society has declined.

Now, I know that if you are truly a child of God, then you will not see the fullness of God's wrath come upon you. Christ has paid the price.

But do you believe this?

How should this affect your view on others? How should this affect your view of your own sin?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Psalm 50:2

From Zion, perfect in beauty,
    God shines forth.

(NIV)


This is another reason why I love the Psalms. It reminds me of the beauty of who God is. I tend to get bogged down in the teaching and the theology of Bible, but verses like this remind me of the wonder of it all.

How do you view God? How do you view his word? Is heaven a place that you truly long for and why?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Psalm 50:1

     A psalm of Asaph.
The Mighty One, God, the LORD,
     speaks and summons the earth
     from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.

(NIV)


I do love the Psalms, and if I continue to do this blog, I hope to one day have posted through the entire book of Psalms. For now, though, I will stick with my favorites.

Psalm 50 is one of my favorites, mostly because of the end of the Psalm, but the end doesn't mean so much unless it is built up to in the beginning. And that is exactly what the author is doing. I think that there is a contrast that is being shown in this Psalm, a contrast between us and Him. He is not us, and we are not Him, and even though we were created in His image, there is still a sharp contrast because of what happened in the garden. We are marred images now.

Notice the three title given here: The Mighty One. God. The Lord. If you click on these words, it will take you to the strong's definition thanks to Studylight.org.

The first title, Mighty One is the Hebrew word, EL, which some of you know as God. And fortunately for us, the translators did a good job because it means mighty one. The next word is Elohim, which is the plural version of El. There is a whole lot of trinitarian theology that I could get into here, but I won't. The last is the defining name of who this mighty God is, it is the name Jehovah.

Now, I could ponder on this for a while, but I did want to focus on the next part. Notice that with his voice, the whole earth is summoned. Now we know that one day every knee will bow to this Lord, but my question is this, do you bow now?

The call that He is giving now is not a summoning call, but a beckoning call. He is not kicking the door down, he is standing at the door and knocking. Oh, as you will see in this Psalm, He will kick the door down, but not yet.

Answer his call.

(Oh, and by the way, answering the call doesn't stop once you are born again. It begins when you are born again, and continues on for eternity, that is what it means to have a LORD.)

Monday, June 04, 2007

I Peter 1:25

but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was
preached to you.

(NIV)

In contrast to our existence on this earth is God's Word.

As we wander (or wonder) through this life, it only makes sense to seek something outside of ourselves to give us direction. There are many that would say that we need to look within us to find direction, to find truth. We even hear it in our children's programs, trust your heart, they say, but why would I trust myself? I have only been here for a short 34 years. That isn't much when you consider time itself.

I should be listening to someone much older. This is why I think it is important to listen to the older generation. Gain from their wisdom, but don't stop there. Go older, and consider something that will last... God's Word. It has stood the test of time, and has passed with flying colors, and according to its own words, it will continue to last.

This has been a great chapter, culminating in this reference point. It has given us commands and goals, it has given us a high calling, and has told us why we shoot for it.

Friday, June 01, 2007

I Peter 1:24

For,
"All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
(NIV)
In answer to the previous post, the way knowledge of imperishable should affect your life is in this way. It is the realization that we are just about as durable as grass.