The Lord Came to Judge

Adolf Hitler made free use of Christian vocabulary. He talked about the blessing of the Almighty and the Christian confessions which would become the pillars of the new government. He assumed the earnestness of a man weighed down by historic responsibility. He handed out pi … More

Hypocrisy

This is the first of twelve Psalms (50 and 73-83) thought to have been written by Asaph. Asaph was one of David’s three chief musicians appointed to be the choir director over the sacred choral services of Israel (I Chronicles 16:15). He was selected by the Levites to lead the music when David brought the ark to Jerusalem (I Chronicles 15:16-17). His descendants are recorded as Choristers of the Temple (I Chronicles 25:1-2; II Chronicles 20:14).

This psalm begins as though God is totally ready to judge the evil people on earth. But surprisingly  we read that God’s great fury is leveled against His own people (or at least those who claim to be His). God’s judgment must begin with His own people (I Peter 4:17). Some have titled this 50th Psalm as a blistering indictment against hypocrisy and formalism in worship. It seems to have been composed by Asaph as a warning to Israel not to substitute formality and hypocrisy for true spirituality. As a nation, Israel had been given all kinds of spiritual privileges and advantages but had persistently rejected the Scriptures and the Savior. Although the beginning  verses in this chapter (vv. 1-2) sound like a praise Psalm, the straight-forwardness of verse 3 suggests that God had unpleasant business to conduct. That purpose is specifically stated (v. 4): He is to judge His people. The worshipers are summoned to give account of their integrity in the matter of sacrificing (v. 5). It appears that they had been unfaithful to the covenant they had made with God or such a charge would not be warranted. God will send no deputy, no lieutenant, no angel to do His work of judgment (v. 6). This is a task He must do Himself.

Application

What am I doing to let the Lord know that I love Him and really desire to please Him? It is so easy to be a hypocrite by having “a form of godliness and deny the power thereof” (II Timothy 3:5).

Psalms 50:1-6 (English Standard Version)

The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest. He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people: "Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!" The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge!

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