(Today's post by Adam Cooper)
Psalm 50 was written by Asaph, one of King David’s chief musicians. It is believed that he wrote 12 of the Psalms and served under Solomon and Rehoboam and he would have been the director of music in Solomon’s Temple. From reading his Psalms it appears that he was a devout man who at times sounds as if he is disheartened by what he sees around him in the behavior of his fellow Jews. At the beginning of this Psalm is one of these times. Through a tremendous oratory about God’s beauty and strength Asaph seems to be calling his fellow Jews to awareness and judgment. Almost saying, “look everyone God is great and powerful and you have all made a covenant with Him and HE WILL JUDGE YOU for your failures (modern day paraphrase mine).”
In the next part of this Psalm Asaph takes God’s voice and tells the Jews that God has no need for their sacrifices or platitudes because He created everything they are sacrificing and everything they are blessed with. In verse 12 God makes this crystal clear, “If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it (NIV).” God even tells the Jews that in spite of their troubles that He will be there to rescue them when they call in their “day of trouble (v.15).” (some may say this is a prophetic reference to the remnant from Israel calling out for God in Revelation)
In the last part Asaph turns God’s voice on the wicked. Here it sounds as if he is talking about those that may be in the synagogues but are not keeping His laws: pretenders. Not only are they not keeping His laws God compares them with adulterers, thieves, gossips, and slanderers and lets them know that one day they will have to face Him directly.
The last two verses “put the bow” on this Psalm by God telling those who forget Him that he will tear them to pieces; and then telling those who remember Him appropriately that they may see the salvation of God. (there are those who also see “show him the salvation of God (v.23)” as a prophetic reference to Christ)
At the time this was written I am sure that the wickedness among the Jewish people was probably rampant. Asaph was in a position to indirectly rebuke people in a way they could understand; through his music. This song could have very easily served as a call to revival in the temple. God spoke through Asaph to get the people’s attention.
Okay, so here we are in 2013. We are not Jews and we are definitely not under the reign of a God ordained king. But we are in a society in which the wickedness is so rampant that it is being accepted as commonplace. I feel that Asaph’s message is as on point today as it was when it was first written.
Verses 7-15 serve to tell those among us who call ourselves Christians not to think of ourselves as any more than we are; servants of Christ. We do not direct life, we do not do anything that is not already willed and ordained by Him; and it is through our belief we are delivered and nothing else. God is in all things, around all things, directs all things.
Verses 16-21 could serve as a warning to those who act like they believe when in truth they do not believe and their lives show it. This goes out to the false teachers among us as well as anyone who through their lack of belief does not live according to God’s will and God makes it known that He will address them to their face one day and “tear them to pieces.”
My takeaway from this Psalm is simple: do not take God and the grace and mercy he has shown to you for granted. It is also important to note that belief in Him should be right and correct and that if you try to hide your lack of belief of Him behind a façade He sees it and you will have to face Him one day to explain it.