Psalm 50: He Does Not Keep Silence!
March 3, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Have you ever thought that God is silent? You can’t hear him or know what it is that he is saying? Perhaps you have a problem for which you are looking for an answer. Or perhaps you are longing to know what God is saying to you about your future.
In this psalm, we meet the God who is not silent! He speaks in creation. He “speaks and summons the earth” (50:1). In nature, “God shines forth” (50:2). It is true that not everyone acknowledges that nature speaks of God (or rather nature is God speaking), but that is because they are spiritually deaf! For those with ears to hear, the natural world sings loudly of the glory of God! He does not “keep silence” (50:3). In “fire” and in a “tempest,” “he calls to the heavens above” (50:3-4). The “heavens declare his righteousness” (50:6).
One way then to hear God speaking is to look outside. To walk in the countryside. To observe the natural world. The extraordinary complexity, symmetry, fine-tuned balance, order out of chaos of our universe is without possibility of final explanation unless there is a logos, a mind, a God who speaks the world into existence.
But God also and primarily speaks in the Bible. “Hear, O my people, and I will speak” (50:7). What does he say? In this psalm, he is saying that what he wants from his people is not more and more sacrifices. “Every beast of the forest is mine” (50:10). “The world and its fullness are mine” (50:12). He does not need a sacrificial animal from us; he does not need “stuff” from us. He owns it all already!
Religion is not what God is looking for! What is he looking for? Relationship. In particular, thanksgiving (“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving”) and obedience (“perform your vows to the Most High”) (50:14). If our relationship with God is marked by thanksgiving and faithful obedience, then we will discover more and more the beautiful intimacy of a close walk with God.
“Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (50:15). What a wonderful promise! Trust God, obey God, praise God—and God will listen when you come to him in prayer. Are you trusting God? Are you obeying God? Are you thanking God for what he has done for you?
On the other hand, though, God also says something about the “wicked” (50:16)—those who “hate discipline” (50:17), who “keep company with adulterers” (50:18), who “slander your own mother’s son” (50:20). They think that God has not noticed, for “I have been silent” (50:21). But now he speaks on this matter too. “Now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you” (50:21). Listen then when God speaks! “Mark this, then, you who forget God” (50:22).
All of creation speaks of God. And in his Word he offers us life, on the one hand, for those who will follow him, and death and judgment, on the other, if we refuse to follow him. Mark this! Listen to this! Pay attention to this speaking God!
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God! (50:23)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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