Psalm 50 - The Mighty God

INTRODUCTION: This is the only Psalm attributed to Asaph in book two of the five books of the Psalms; the other eleven are listed consecutively in book three as Psalm 73 through Psalm 83. Asaph was a leader of worship during the reign of King David after David had brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem and placed it into the tent he had pitched for it. The seven year temple construction project was completed by King Solomon some eleven years after he began his reign, and there is no clear evidence in the scripture whether this Psalm was written before or after the temple was completed.

NOTE: Scripture passages are from the King James 21st CenturyVersion.


A - THE MIGHTY GOD

Psalm 50 "1 <<A Psalm of Asaph.>>The Mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof."

COMMENTS: The Mighty God is a short phrase that has special meaning as it appears in several Old Testament passages in addition to here in Psalm 50. The first verse of those that will illustrate the way such references can be mutually related, contains words Jacob spoke about his son Joseph and the strength the LORD would provide to him. Genesis 49 "24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob, from thence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel." It is interesting to notice that the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel, was to come from the mighty God. Then several centuries later Moses gave the message of the LORD to the children of Israel that they should not fear the people they would face as they entered the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 7 "21 Thou shalt not be frightened at them; for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and fearsome." After the time of the Judges and near the end of the period of the kings of Israel, Isaiah gave the prophecy of the coming Messiah who would be the "mighty God." Isaiah 9 "6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." This is the one true God, Yahweh.

The LORD God has spoken to mankind even from the beginning of creation in a wordless language that all people can understand. Psalm 19 "1 <<To the chief musician: A Psalm of David.>>The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. 2 Day upon day uttereth speech, and night upon night showeth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard." The Word of God gives further communication to us, and what he has spoken will not be left undone. Numbers 23 "19 God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent. Hath He said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" Isaiah recorded a marvelous promise of eternal life to all those who have placed their trust in God. Isaiah 25 "8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth; for the LORD hath spoken it."

And just as the promise in the Word of God is for those who believe, the Lord Jesus spoke a warning about judgment for those who remain in unbelief. John 12 "48 He that rejecteth Me and receiveth not My words, hath One that judgeth him; the Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the Last Day." The apostle Peter gave this report of Christ Jesus having fulfilled many prophecies, and that he will also return according to prophecy. Acts 3 "18 But those things which God before had shown by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath thus fulfilled. 19 Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. 20 Then He shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you, 21 whom Heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." The coming of Christ Jesus brought the living Word of God to us in person. Hebrews 1 "1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds. 3 He is the brightness of God's glory and the express image of His person, upholding all things by the word of His power. When He had by Himself purged our sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,"

In the phrase "called the earth" we find the invitation of the LORD being given to people all around the globe in a repetitive manner just as the sunlight moves across the face of the earth every day from the east to the west. This next passage demonstrates how the phrase "called the earth" refers to people the world over. Genesis 11 "9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel [that is, Confusion], because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." The proper response by us to the call should be praise to his name. Psalm 113 "3 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, the LORD'S name is to be praised." This was not just for Israel, but also for the Gentiles. Malachi 1 ""11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, My name shall be great among the Gentiles. And in every place incense shall be offered unto My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the heathen," saith the LORD of hosts."

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans that the call of the LORD was for both Jews and Gentiles. Romans 9 "21 Hath not the potter power over the clay to make from the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor? 22 What if God, choosing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; 23 and this that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, whom He had prepared before unto glory, 24 even us whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25 As He saith also in Hosea: "I will call them 'My people,' who were not My people, and 'her beloved' who was not beloved." 26 And, "It shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, 'Ye are not My people,' there shall they be called the children of the living God." This calling is not by righteous works we can do, but by the purpose and grace of the LORD. 2 Timothy 1 "9 who hath saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but in accordance with His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel."


B - GOD HAS SHINED OUT OF ZION

Psalm 50 "2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined."

COMMENTS: The LORD directed Moses to tell Aaron and his sons the form of a special blessing they should speak to the people, and it included that the LORD would make his face to shine upon them. Numbers 6 "22 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, 23 "Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, 'In this way ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them: 24 The LORD bless thee and keep thee; 25 the LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; 26 the LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.'" Zion was the place of the temple and of the LORD, the king of kings, and his presence made it a place of unequaled beauty. Psalm 48 "1 <<A song. A Psalm for the sons of Korah.>>Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, on the mountain of His holiness. 2 Beautiful in situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion; on the sides of the north, the city of the great King." However, the unfaithfulness of the Jewish nation led to captivity and the desolation of the temple of God. Lamentations 2 "14 Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment. 15 All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?"

When the Lord Jesus came into Jerusalem there was a rebuilt temple, but he was now the light of men. John 8 "12 Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, "I am the Light of the world. He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." The Apostle Paul explained the light of the gospel that shines through Christ. 2 Corinthians 4 "3 But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to those who are lost, 4 whose unbelieving minds the god of this world hath blinded, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."


C - A DEVOURING FIRE BEFORE GOD

Psalm 50 "3 Our God shall come and shall not keep silence; a devouring fire shall go before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. 4 He shall call to the heavens from above and to the earth, that He may judge His people: 5 "Gather My saints together unto Me, those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." 6 And the heavens shall declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge. Selah"

COMMENTS: The LORD has been consistent about judgment for the righteous and the unrighteous throughout the history of mankind as recorded in scripture. King David in his Psalm of confession described the sacrifice that is acceptable to the LORD. Psalm 51 "14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise. 16 For Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; Thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. 18 Do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion; build Thou the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar."

Many centuries after these Psalms were written, a similar message was written by the prophet as the destruction of the temple and the captivity of the Jews drew closer. Isaiah 65 "6 Behold, it is written before Me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense - even recompense into their bosom - 7 your iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together," saith the LORD, "who have burned incense upon the mountains and blasphemed Me upon the hills; therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom." Another prophet declared that the judgment was not to be feared by those who trust in the LORD. Nahum 1 "5 The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world and all that dwell therein. 6 Who can stand before His indignation? And who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him. 7 The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him."

The Christian life is not without trouble and trials, but the Apostle Paul offered comfort in this letter. 2 Thessalonians 1 "7 and to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who know not God, and who obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He shall come on that Day to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed."


D - THE FULLNESS OF THE WORLD BELONGS TO GOD

Psalm 50 "7 Hear, O My people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. 8 I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before Me. 9 I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor hegoats out of thy folds. 10 For every beast of the forest is Mine and the cattle upon a thousand hills. 11 I know all the fowls of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine. 12 If I were hungry I would not tell thee, for the world is Mine and the fullness thereof. 13 Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?"

COMMENTS: Before the children of Israel went into the Promised Land the LORD told them that their hearts needed to be right before him for any gifts of worship to have true meaning for he had no need of anything from them. Deuteronomy 10 "12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13 to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command thee this day for thy good? 14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD'S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. 15 Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them; and He chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. 16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked."

The Lord Jesus told all who would follow him that the greatest riches anyone could accumulate will not have lasting value, and there is no amount of riches that can purchase salvation for the soul. We need to consider all we have materially as already lost, and to let our desires die for things of this world. Then we will be free to follow all that the Lord has for us. Mark 8 "34 And when He had called the people unto Him with His disciples also, He said unto them, "Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the Gospel's, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever, therefore, shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.""


E - OFFER THANKSGIVING AND PAY YOUR VOWS

Psalm 50 "14 Offer unto God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto the Most High, 15 and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me."

COMMENTS: The LORD had told King David that he would not be permitted to build the temple, but David made great preparations in materials, and he gave glory to the LORD as he dedicated all he had prepared and asked a blessing on Solomon to complete the work. The passage that follows provides an excellent example of the thoughts conveyed in the above two verses. 1 Chronicles 29 "10 Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation. And David said: "Blessed be Thou, LORD God of Israel, our Father, for ever and ever. 11 Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power and the glory, and the victory and the majesty; for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine. Thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and Thou art exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from Thee, and Thou reignest over all. And in Thine hand is power and might; and in Thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. 13 Now therefore, our God, we thank Thee and praise Thy glorious name. 14 "But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly in this manner? For all things come from Thee, and from Thine own have we given Thee. 15 For we are strangers before Thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers; our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. 16 O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build Thee a house for Thine holy name cometh from Thine hand and is all Thine own. 17 I know also, my God, that Thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now have I seen with joy Thy people, who are present here to offer willingly unto Thee. 18 O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of Thy people, and prepare their heart unto Thee. 19 And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart to keep Thy commandments, Thy testimonies, and Thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for which I have made provision."" In another Psalm, King David stated that he knew he could call on the LORD in a time of trouble. Psalm 86 "3 Be merciful unto me, O Lord, for I cry unto Thee daily. 4 Make the soul of Thy servant rejoice, for unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 5 For Thou, Lord, art good and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee. 6 Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. 7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon Thee, for Thou wilt answer me."


F - GOD SPEAKS TO THE WICKED AMONG FOLLOWERS

Psalm 50 "16 But unto the wicked God saith: "What hast thou to do to declare My statutes, or that thou shouldest take My covenant in thy mouth, 17 seeing thou hatest instruction and castest My words behind thee? 18 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consented with him, and thou hast been partaker with adulterers. 19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. 20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. 21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself. But I will reprove thee and set them in order before thine eyes."

COMMENTS: the wicked include those who act as though they honor God, but in fact they are not truly devoted to him. There actions are borne out of self-righteousness and they desire to glorify themselves even as they seem to be giving praise to God. It is only the mercy and patience of the LORD that allows extra time for his grace to be accepted before he brings punishment upon the wicked. The condition of the hearts of men described in this Psalm was happening long before the writing, and many centuries later it was reaching a critical point for the people of Israel. Isaiah 59 "1 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. 4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth; they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity." When the Lord Jesus taught in Jerusalem he condemned the same hypocrisy. Matthew 23 "13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men, for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. 14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers; therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." Upon his return, the LORD will hold guilty all those who maintained that erroneous course in their life.


G - THOSE WHO PUT GOD ASIDE MUST CONSIDER HIS WORD

Psalm 50 "22 Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces and there be none to deliver: 23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me; and to him that ordereth his manner of living aright, I will show the salvation of God."

COMMENTS: Long before the Psalm was written, while Israel was yet in the wilderness, the LORD spoke to Moses of his mercy, but also told him he would not clear those who refused to receive it and remained in their sin. Exodus 34 "5 And the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children unto the third and to the fourth generation." 8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped."

Many centuries after this Psalm had been written, and not long before the desolation of the temple at Jerusalem because of the transgressions of the people, the LORD gave the same message through his prophet. Isaiah 55 "6 Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," saith the LORD. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." And even after the Jews had gone into the captivity in Babylon, another prophet wrote of the same hope for those who would seek the LORD. Ezekiel 18 "21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed and keep all My statutes and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live: he shall not die. 22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him. In his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. 23 "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die, saith the Lord GOD, and not that he should return from his ways and live?"

The Apostle Peter wrote that the Lord Jesus has continued to hold out the call for each person to seek holiness with the LORD and not to depend on empty religious practice. 1 Peter 1 "15 but as He who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of living, 16 because it is written: "Be ye holy, for I am holy." 17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. 18 For ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, from your vain way of living which ye received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, 20 who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. 21 By Him ye believe in God, who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God."


-- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

I thank you LORD that your call has continued to go throughout the whole earth, and that your light has sined in my heart because of your grace and mercy. I believe that you are a consuming fire that will remove all that is unholy, and I also believe you provide security from harm for those who are among your saints. The heavens will declare your righteousness as you alone bring final judgment. I understand that any material thing we could give to you is already yours because you are the Creator God, but you do accept the sacrifice of praise made humbly from the heart. I offer you thanksgiving my Savior because I believe you will deliver me in the day of trouble, and I want all the glory to be yours for that salvation. I pray for those around me who have forgotten your gracious blessings, and I want to continually offer praise to you Lord to bring to you honor and glory. Help me Lord to order my life in the way most pleasing to you to demonstrate that my faith and hope is in the true and living God. Amen.

Published 4 July 2013