# 180 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 50. Listening to God.

This psalm is attributed to Asaph, who “held some role as a master of music in David’s day” (Blaiklock), and is unlike the majority of the other psalms, because as Brueggemann says, “This psalm is the speech of God.” Now, one may be able to ignore the speech of a man, but it seems to me, it would be a foolish thing to ignore the speech of God! It begins:

The Mighty One, God, the Lord,
    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
    God shines forth.
Our God comes
    and will not be silent;
a fire devours before him,
    and around him a tempest rages.
He summons the heavens above,
    and the earth
, that he may judge his people:
“Gather to me this consecrated people,
    who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    for he is a God of justice.

Listen, my people, and I will speak;

Initially the words are addressed to the heavens above, and the earth, but then specifically to his people…my people…this consecrated people who made a covenant with me.

In the context of the psalm, God’s consecrated people are the people of Israel. But, I think, his words can be applied to all believers, if, as we shall see later, our problem is that of having an inadequate understanding of God resulting in formalism in our worship. So, God’s words may be relevant to us today.

Firstly, let us consider what we know of God from this psalm. Some things we can learn from the use of numerous titles for God, as follows:

 Verse 1. He is the Mighty One, God, the Lord,
 Verse 6. He is a God of justice.                                                                                                                         Verse 14  He is the Most High                                                                                                           

Then the language of the psalm indicates that God is on a “mission”! One gets the impression early in this psalm that His “speech” may not be what His people were expecting or hoping to hear. Consider the following:

Our God comes  and will not be silent,
a fire devours before him,
    and around him a tempest rages.
He summons the heavens above,
    and the earth, that he may judge his people:

Later we read that there have been times when God, in his patience and mercy and grace has   kept silent (v 21), but not this time!  Our God comes and will not be silent (verse 3)             It is not the time for silence anymore. God (still in mercy) will speak and his people will hear and disobey at their peril.

Have you ever experienced those times in your life? Not comfortable!

It is interesting that we often actually misquote the words of God in Psalm 46:10 when he proclaims:

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

The NIV Study Bible suggests:

“God’s voice breaks through, as he addresses the nations…Be still. Here the Hebrew for the phrase probably means ‘Enough!’ … ‘Stop!’

Broyles says: “In this explosive context, ‘Be still’ is not an invitation to tranquil meditation but a command to allow God to be God…”  

In the NT, the author of Hebrews also speaks of God’s voice. This time though not a voice of judgement but one of salvation and hope for all who believe in Jesus.  He wrote:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.   (Hebrews 1:1-3)

Whatever our situation, Father, when you speak to us, may he hear and respond appropriately. Amen.

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