Posted by: arieliondotcom | October 29, 2013

Soul Sacrifice (Psalm 50)

Soul Sacrifice (Psalm 50)

Psalm 50 was written by Asaph who was a key choir member of David and a prophet. And in Psalm 50 we see both his talents because he could not only sing songs but wrote them (at least this one and several others). And this psalm is a prophecy about Messiah, who Christians know is JESUS, coming to earth as Judge.

We see from the first verse what a great writer Asaph is because his first line is as powerful as it can be. It is the Name of GOD mentioned three times. In Hebrew, repeating words is emphasis. And Asaph uses three names for GOD immediately: “The True GOD Almighty, GOD the Judge, GOD the GOD of Israel”, is the One speaking. And we can’t help but think of the Trinity.

GOD, Asaph says, has called out to humanity all day long, from sunrise to sunset. The sense is of closure. The sun is going down. Opportunity to hear Him is almost gone.

GOD has shines out of Zion. He has revealed His perfect will from Jerusalem. We Christians can see JESUS standing in Jerusalem saying that if we have seen Him we have seen the Father, that all power in Heaven and earth have been given to Him, to come to Him and be born again before it is too late when He returns as Judge. The perfection of GOD in Christ poured out of His Head, Hands and Feet on the cross as forgiveness if we will acknowledge our need and come.

In Asaph’s prophecy JESUS is returning to earth as Judge. Around Him the cataclysms of earth are going on as predicted by the prophets, including John in the Book of Revelation, for the end times. JESUS is calling witnesses from Heaven and earth to see His judgment. The Hebrew means heavenly beings and the heavenly stars and planets as well as the physical earth and all who live on it.

Like pulling closed two sides of a zipper, GOD is pulling together everything in creation closure at the end of time for judgment. And He calls, “Bring those who showed their faithfulness to Me by making sacrifice!” And the heavens are witnesses that because of His righteousness, GOD, Messiah, JESUS, is fit to be Judge.Who better to judge sacrifices than GOD Who sacrificed Himself?

Now there’s a pause here (the word “Selah”). The listener has a moment to think about that word “sacrifice.” Some would be thinking, “At last! He’s going to acknowledge all the sacrifices I made for Him!” Others are thinking, “How could we ever give enough to thank Him for what He has given us?” The pause is there because a twist is coming.

GOD addresses Israel and says He’s not going to say they haven’t done enough ritual sacrifice. They’re constantly sacrificing animals. He sees that. But He explains to them that the animals aren’t the point. He made every animal. He already owns them and knows each one of them personally. He doesn’t need to be fed as if He were some kind of animal Himself. Giving sacrifices of animals isn’t the point.

Instead, GOD says, being grateful is the only sacrifice He wants. There’s a beautiful word picture in the Hebrew of putting our confessions, our thanks, our very souls up on the altar to GOD. This is what the Apostle Paul will call offering ourselves as living sacrifices to GOD.

When we realize what JESUS has done in giving us eternal Life we want to give all we are and have in thanks. Like a friend who buys gifts for children out of love for their parents we will want to love and help the needy knowing GOD loves them and it pleases Him. We will take time to thank GOD. We will trust Him only and not disrespect or ignore Him or treat others like GOD. And we will continue to be blessed and bless Him and others in His Name like a natural cycle.

So the people GOD is calling together to Himself are those who have given themselves to Him (JESUS). But He has a word for the wicked, too. Wait a minute. This sounds awfully bossy. Who is JESUS calling wicked? Just because they don’t worship Him is someone wicked? Yes. Because He is Goodness then those who refuse Him are rejecting goodness and rejecting goodness is evil. In fact, He goes on to be painfully specific.

If we belong to JESUS we will accept His discipline. We will love Him in spite of not liking what He does because He loves us, sometimes. We accept it’s for our good. But those who reject Him and His discipline of Love aren’t fit to receive His treats of Love either.

But what about all these other nasty things? We don’t know people who lie or gossip even about family or even are looking at other people’s husbands or wives as better than ours do we? Do we? We don’t have a friend like that we invite into our homes do we? Nearly all of us do. And we give them our attention all night most nights. They’re called television shows. Homosexuality is one of the things Scripture says isn’t fit to talk about. But because “it’s only TV” it floods our homes.

So if GOD doesn’t like it, why doesn’t He say something? He has. From sunrise to sunset. He is now. Are you listening? Does GOD need a cellphone to ask “Can you hear me now?” Is He using or must He use the megaphone of pain CS Lewis talks about to get our attention?

We think the Apostle Paul was just a grumpy old man but JESUS wouldn’t condemn what Paul did. But that’s wrong. Paul spoke what GOD said. He passed along what JESUS says. He was inspired by GOD to write Scripture. Are we reading and heeding it?

Asaph ends his psalm with a stern warning from GOD/Messiah/JESUS. We thought we could live any way we please and GOD must be pleased because He allowed it. But that’s wrong. He is coming back for those who have confessed their need of Him. The picture is those who have crawled up on the altar themselves and given all to His control. They will have changed lives. Those who haven’t, though, will be ripped apart at His soon coming judgment.

Those who sacrifice and do good out of gratitude for what GOD in Christ has done for them, meanwhile, enjoy salvation.

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