June 11th - Psalms 48 +50

This devotional was penned by Mark Jones titled, for God Himself is Judge!

Read Psalm 48 +50

I’m noticing a bit of a trend in the readings that I’ve had to write about so far in this time of penning the weekly devotions. That trend being, that most weeks there has been something related to God being a judge. One of the things that I was taught at an early age when reading any kind of narrative literature is that if an author repeats something or goes back to a particular theme, it’s been done to tell us to pay attention to it. With that in mind, it’s important for us as Christians to know that God is our judge, and He is not just any old judge. He is instead, a righteous judge.

For today’s devotion, I’ll be focusing on Psalm 50. This Psalm is a Psalm written by a man named Asaph. Many reading this today may not know who Asaph is, he’s not a character we speak about a lot. Asaph was one of the Levites that King David put in charge of worship in the temple during his reign as King of Israel, making Asaph a worship leader. He penned 12 of the 150 Psalms we have.

The core focus of this Psalm as written by Asaph is on God being the judge of Israel. We see this notably in verse 7 where God says, “hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you.” But what is God referring to when He is testifying against Israel?

We get a bit of a hint as to what this may be in verses 17 and 18:

17 You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you. 18When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers.

On reading this I think that Asaph may have been making reference to the historic pattern of rejecting God’s instruction that we see from the Israelites happening from Genesis 3 all the way to the time this Psalm was written. The people of Israel were people who habitually strayed from God’s instruction. This is possibly most noticeable in the book of Judges. The pattern in the book of Judges is that the Israelites stray from God’s instruction, a judge is raised and they begin to behave, then once the judge passes away the Israelites stray again and the cycle repeats itself. Interestingly enough this period of time where Asaph penned this Psalm, along with the 11 others he wrote, is approximately 100-150 years after the events recorded in the book of Judges. So this pattern of behaviour would be within the living memory of some of those who would’ve heard these Psalms of worship being read out.

The question for us in our current time is - are we guilty of doing the same? Do we fall prey to this pattern of straying from God’s commands for us? Do we forget what God has done for us and instead focus on ourselves and move our gaze away from the greatness and glory of God?

Thankfully for us here in 2020, unlike the Israelites at this time, we are not subject to laws that achieve mercy and grace through a sacrificial system to top up our forgiveness each year. No, we have the ultimate gift of grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All we have to do is accept that gift and acknowledge Him as Lord and Saviour.

Asaph closes Psalm 50 with the words we see in verses 22 and 23. “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: Those who sacrifice thank offerings honour me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.” We have seen this salvation of which Asaph speaks, it is salvation found in Jesus Christ.

May God bless the reading of His word.

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