God summons his people to court and accuses them of hypocrisy. That is the message of Psalm 50. God’s people brought animals to sacrifice to him, but they failed to obey his commands, and when they did obey, their heart was not in it. In this Psalm. God accuses his worshipers of joining forces with thieves. He rebukes them for slandering their brothers, and using their speech to deceive. Their actions do not reflect knowledge of the word; God in fact questions their right to recite his law.
The words of Psalm 50 indict many of us who profess to worship the God of the Bible through his Messiah and Son, Jesus. We may worship and study, but do we treat others justly? We may read the Bible, but also curse those who work with us or serve us at businesses. We may profess to honor him, but treat civil authorities with disrespect. Like the initial readers of Psalm 50, we too must pause to reflect on our actions and to examine our attitudes. God wants cohesion in thought and action from us; his two greatest commands, according to Jesus, are to love God and to love others as we love ourselves (a command that assumes that we love ourselves). With these thoughts in mind, I offer a prayer that responds to Psalm 50’s message:
O God, our Lord, you are the Mighty One. You speak and the earth must respond. You will not be silent; fire devours before you and a storm rages around you. You have issued a summons; judgment will begin with the people of God. Your creation testifies on your behalf, as do a host of witnesses, faithful worshipers who preceded us. You see within our intention, and expose our hypocrisy. You want us to learn from your word and to apply those lessons to our lives. May we love others as you love us. May we remember you and honor you with our actions. Forgive us and strengthen us. May our lips continually offer you a sacrifice of praise that is reflected also in the way we treat others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.