“The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth.” As with the group called “the sons of Korah,” the name of Asaph is associated in the Scriptures with King David. These musical servants were appointed by the king. They and their descendants led the congregation in worship and even composed songs under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Some of these, like Psalm 50, were explicitly about the Lord’s sovereignty over the entire planet. Out of the perfection of His heavenly sanctuary and from His earthly residence on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, the Lord Almighty sent forth a message of majestic glory to the whole world.
The Lord, the great I-AM, was worshiped as the God who speaks and who comes in person. Yet Israel’s God brought a message that many of His people did not want to hear. “I will testify against you.” The Lord was not interested in ceremonial righteousness as a substitute for sincere obedience. He was not hungry for their animal sacrifices. He called for His people to be truly thankful to Him and to live according to their solemn promises. The Lord who owned “the cattle on a thousand hills” wanted them to cry out to Him when they were in need and to ask Him for deliverance. He demanded their sincere worship.
Some Israelites were more than willing to have God’s Name on their lips, but they were unwilling to follow His commandments. His rebuke of the disobedient was very plain: “What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips?”
The Lord used the psalmist to prosecute His people for their violations of His laws. They had joined with thieves and adulterers and yet imagined that the Lord would not care. They spoke against one another and would not hear God’s directives. Despite all this sin they imagined that they could still gather in covenant assembly and perform the rites of the Old Testament liturgy. Yet the Lord was not willing to receive them in their hypocrisy. “Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!”
How can anyone stand before the Almighty? How can we worship God? We come in the Name of Jesus. That Name is powerful to turn us away from mere pretended holiness. We glorify our God with honest thanksgiving for all His benefits. By His powerful grace, we order our ways rightly, and we trust that through this same Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, the Lord will show us His salvation.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Almighty God, You are perfect. You come to us. You speak. Your righteousness is declared in the heavens. We hate our hypocrisy. We would pretend perfect devotion, but You know the truth. Help us now, that we might glorify You. We turn away from all wickedness. Help us to love the truth from the heart. You are perfectly holy, and You care for us. We give You our thanksgiving as a pleasant sacrifice, for we offer You our lives.