Reading the Word
Psalm 50:16–23 (ESV)
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!”
Understanding and Applying the Word
Psalm 50 has much to say about insincere religion. In the previous verses, God chastises those who brought their sacrifices because they thought by doing so they put God in their debt. Not so! God does not need our sacrifices. He already owns everything. Our worship should be motivated by thanksgiving for all he has done for us.
In our verses for today, God speaks against those who would say all of the right religious things, but then live their lives in complete contrast to their words. God calls these people wicked. Those who truly belong to God do not only know the right teaching of God’s word, but they live according to it. Jesus echoes this sentiment in Matthew 7:21:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (ESV)
The psalm ends with a summary:
“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”
May our religion be pure and sincere. May the word of God not be just information that we can recite, but may it change us from the inside out so that we become more and more like our Savior.
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