Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
Do we ask God what HE wants? Do we begin our day with this request? Do we ask this question only when we have exhausted all other avenues of self led behaviors and failed? Do we realize He will guide us? Do we know how much God loves the details of our lives? Details trip us up but God loves to untangle the details and set us going in the right direction once more. He is God and we are not.
God is judge. Only God. “The whole cosmos attests to the fairness of this court, that here GOD is judge.” God is not shy in His coming but will not go where he is not invited. The purpose of this “trial” was not to judge and condemn the sinners but to expose their sins and give them opportunity to repent and return to the Lord. Our Lord is the God of second chances.
God speaks in to the writer of this prayer-psalm with EXACTLY what He is looking for from His people. Look for what God wants…
Psalm 50, The Message
An Asaph Psalm
1-3 The God of gods—it’s God!—speaks out, shouts, “Earth!”
welcomes the sun in the east,
farewells the disappearing sun in the west.
From the dazzle of Zion,
God blazes into view.
Our God makes his entrance,
he’s not shy in his coming.
Starbursts of fireworks precede him.
4-5 He summons heaven and earth as a jury,
he’s taking his people to court:
“Round up my saints who swore
on the Bible their loyalty to me.”
6 The whole cosmos attests to the fairness of this court,
that here God is judge.
7-15 “Are you listening, dear people? I’m getting ready to speak;
Israel, I’m about ready to bring you to trial.
This is God, your God,
speaking to you.
I don’t find fault with your acts of worship,
the frequent burnt sacrifices you offer.
But why should I want your blue-ribbon bull,
or more and more goats from your herds?
Every creature in the forest is mine,
the wild animals on all the mountains.
I know every mountain bird by name;
the scampering field mice are my friends.
If I get hungry, do you think I’d tell you?
All creation and its bounty are mine.
Do you think I feast on venison?
or drink draughts of goats’ blood?
Spread for me a banquet of praise,
serve High God a feast of kept promises,
And call for help when you’re in trouble—
I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”
16-21 Next, God calls up the wicked:
“What are you up to, quoting my laws,
talking like we are good friends?
You never answer the door when I call;
you treat my words like garbage.
If you find a thief, you make him your buddy;
adulterers are your friends of choice.
Your mouth drools filth;
lying is a serious art form with you.
You stab your own brother in the back,
rip off your little sister.
I kept a quiet patience while you did these things;
you thought I went along with your game.
I’m calling you on the carpet, now,
laying your wickedness out in plain sight.
22-23 “Time’s up for playing fast and
loose with me.
I’m ready to pass sentence,
and there’s no help in sight!
It’s the praising life that honors me.
As soon as you set your foot on the Way,
I’ll show you my salvation.”
SOMETHING TO KNOW…
Here is a bit of history from the study and findings of Warren Wiersbe:
Every seventh year, during the Feast of Tabernacles, the priests were obligated to read the law to the people and explain its meaning (Deut. 31:9-18; Neh. 8), and this psalm may have been written for such an occasion. The emphasis is on the consistent godly living that should result from true spiritual worship.
Asaph was one of David’s worship leaders. A group of eleven psalms attributed to Asaph is found in 73–83. God the Judge summons the court (vv. 1-6) and confronts two offenders: the formalist, to whom worship is a ritual to follow (vv. 7-15), and the hypocrite, to whom worship is a disguise to cover sin (vv. 16-21). The psalm closes with a call to all worshipers to be faithful to God (vv. 22-23).
Since Cain and Abel, humans bring to God what they think God wants but rarely deliver what God desires of us. God desires honesty and humility. He wants us to want Him. He wants us to long for Him. He wants us to love Him completely. God sees every heart. God seeks hearts that are completely His. He created every heart. He knows when we are praising Him only from a sense of duty, pride, ritual or worse yet, from a place of showy hypocrisy.
Again, what He really wants, like what most parents want from their children, is true love and devotion to Him. He wants us to want to be with Him!
God says to His people, “Why should I want your blue ribbon bull, or more goats from your herds? Every creature in the forest is mine.” God created all. Everything we think we possess is God’s first.
Then God says, “Spread for me a banquet of praise, serve High God a feast of KEPT promises…” Ouch…
What promises have you made to God? Have you kept your promises to our Mighty God, Our Creator of all?
Love God like you promised you would love Him. Do what you said you would do for him because of your love for Him. When God calls, answer! Don’t delete that call from “recent calls” but answer, put Him on speaker phone if you have to so you can hear every word!!
God goes on to say, “…And call for help when you’re in trouble–I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”
Is God your last resort or your first source of help?
When we turn to God for help, we acknowledge that we don’t know what tomorrow holds much less the next ten minutes. We acknowledge to the God who knows everything that we really don’t know much of anything at all except that He is God and we are not. This is a form of praise! This is honest humility.
Are you ready to let go of what you think you know for all that God knows and is willing to help you know?
What does God require of us?
Let’s revisit Micah 6:8:
“O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Dear Heavenly Father and Lord of our lives,
We spread out a banquet of praise this morning by serving you humble hearts, minds that seek only You, and souls that long for Your Holy Presence. We need You every hour. Every hour we need You. Accept our praise from our hearts to Yours. I love you, Lord with all my heart, mind and soul.
In Jesus Name, Amen.