When we go out, my husband drives the Honda van that I drive most of the time. Last night he took his hands off the steering wheel and held them up, so I would notice– not his “look ma, no hands” bravado– but that the wheel shook back and forth. He explained that the van only needed the wheels balanced since the car didn’t pull to the left or right. When that happens, it’s time for a realignment because the wheels aren’t straight and all going in the same direction. I didn’t know I was in for a mechanics lesson. I thought we were just going out to dinner!
In Psalm 50 God calls out the wicked for their deeds: undisciplined living, greed, thievery, adultery, and slander. Then he lets us in on his response in verse 21:
These things you have done, and I have been silent;
. you thought that I was one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.
The wicked assume that God is like them. In other words, they think he would approve of their rationalization of their sin, that he shares their perspective.
“God doesn’t really mean I should follow his Word right now. He sees that I am being mistreated. He knows the perpetrators are evil and not deserving of my love!”
“The people who have been oppressed deserve to loot and grab what isn’t theirs. Good for them! Surely God is OK with righting wrongs.”
“I’m not sharing anything that anyone doesn’t already know about so-and-so. They are bringing disgrace on the name of Jesus. We need to be praying they will find their way back to him!”
And so it goes– justification for stepping outside of God’s best for the Church and for each one of us. In other words, casting his words behind us. (Verse 17)
The actions mentioned in this psalm are worthy of God’s rebuke. But this is small compared to the underlying grievous offense: seeing God– the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe; the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent One; the source of all mercy and all justice– as one like us.
God is completely other.
We can catch glimpses of how amazingly gloriously holy he is, but we are using a limited human intellect. We are made in his image, and so we can know something of who he is, but logically there is no way for the created to understand the Creator. To reduce God to operating with human motivations is to strip him of everything worthy of worship.
Or to say it another way: as long as we think God is like us, our worship of him will be far less than he deserves.
Why would we sing the praises of a hero when we can adore the living God?
READY FOR SUNDAY
Does my worship feel “off”? Is it bumpy, pulled to the sidelines, or less-than-inspiring? A realignment is most likely necessary.
Psalm 50 gives practical ways to adjust my mind and heart:
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”
- offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God– tell him what you are thankful for, list the blessings he has showered on me
- perform your vows to him and order your way rightly– live the way he has called me to live, let my actions line up with his Word
- call on him in trouble– let my first response to difficulties be to cry out to him, not take it out on others around me
The result? To be able to glorify God and see his salvation; to be so captivated by his god-ness that worship is my automatic response.
He is holy!