Obligation or celebration.
Going through the motions or sincere participation.
Have-to or want-to.
Psalm 50 is a call from God to gather His people for the purpose of examining their motives for worship.
The Mighty One, God, the LORD,speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets. (v. 1)
He summons the heavens above,
and the earth, that he may judge his people.
Gather to me my consecrated ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
for God himself is judge.
Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
O Israel, and I will testify against you;
I am God, your God. (v. 4-7)
God, the Mighty One, the righteous judge, does not rebuke his people for their sacrifices or burnt offerings, offered for sins. But He dispels the idea that He is in need of the animals that are sacrificed.
I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices
or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills. (v. 8-10)
God wants our hearts.
This is a reminder to God’s people that sacrifices of worship can be done the right way but for the wrong reason. Worship is about the motives of the heart, not checking off a box or going through the motions.
In the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, the thank offering was a voluntary offering.
And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will. Leviticus 22:29 NKJV
God invites His people to worship Him voluntarily, with pure motives, and not out of obligation.
Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (v. 14-15)
Those who worship God freely, out of a pure heart, can call upon Him in times of trouble. When God delivers them, they will honor God by giving Him praise.
God has harsh words for those who sacrifice out of obligation but whose hearts are unchanged. These people recite His laws but hate His instruction. They go through the motions of worship, but afterward join in with thieves, adulterers, and slanderers.
God reminds the insincere worshiper that He will hold them accountable for their actions.
These things you have done and I kept silent;
you thought I was altogether like you.
But I will rebuke you
and accuse you to your face. (v. 21)
God offers them an opportunity to remember Him and repent.
Consider this, you who forget God,
or I will tear you to pieces, with
none to rescue. (v. 22)
Psalm 50 ends with a reminder to worship with pure motives.
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God! (v. 23 ESV)
Let’s check our motives.
Let’s worship God because of who He is.
Let’s give thanks to God because we want to, not out of obligation.
Let’s order our lives rightly, according to God’s Word.
Let’s call out to the Most High when we are in trouble.
Let’s glorify Him today.
Father, examine my heart. Forgive me for going through the motions in worship. I want to worship You freely, with pure motives. Thank You for Your great salvation. Help me to order my life rightly, according to Your Word, that I might bring You glory today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.