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A testimony of God to the heavens and the earth, that rebukes those who are content with the form of religion without the power.
Psalm 49 rebukes the folly of the worldly man that trusts in riches; Psalm 50 the religious man that trusts in forms of religion.
(vv. 1-2) God is present in His majesty, as the mighty and unchangeable One, speaking to the whole earth from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof. He speaks out of Zion, and hence in sovereign blessing for man.
(vv. 3-6) The verses that follow declare that God has reached the throne of blessing in Zion through judgment. During long ages God has kept silence while the world has ripened for judgment. At length the silence will be broken and God will come with the devouring fire of judgment.
The scene being cleared in judgment, God gathers around Him those who are in relationship with Him on the ground of sacrifice - the death of Christ. The earth has manifested the unrighteousness of man; now, at last, the heavens will declare the righteousness of God that, on the one hand, deals in judgment with the rejectors of Christ, and on the other hand blesses those who trust in Christ.
(vv. 7-13) The verses that follow declare God's testimony to Israel, reproving them for trusting in the outward form of religion. God does not reprove them in relation to their sacrifices, as if they had not brought them. God does not want sacrifice from man, He requires righteousness. God has wearied with religious men continually bringing sacrifices, as if He were claiming cattle from men, or as if He were hungry and needed meat. Every beast of the forest is His, and the cattle on a thousand hills. All the fullness of the earth is at His disposal.
(vv. 14-15) God looks for a spirit of thanksgiving, and the practical fulfillment of obligations. God desires that men should confide in Him and call upon Him in the day of trouble.
(vv. 16-21) Alas! while observing a round of religious ceremonies, the professing people of God hated instruction, and treated God's words with contempt. They might not be guilty of any gross sin, as stealing, but they took pleasure in a thief, and had partaken, if only in mind and imagination, with adulterers. Their mouth had been used for evil-speaking, deceit, and slander.
Yet, because God kept silence, and bore long in patience, men thought that all was well, and that God, like themselves, was satisfied with outward religious observances. When, however, God speaks he raises the question of man's unrighteousness. “These things hast thou done.” Man's religion is one of outward forms with nothing to disturb the conscience. God beginning with the conscience, raises the question, “What hast thou done?” (cp. Gen_3:13 ; Gen_4:10 ).
(vv. 22-23) The formalist may indeed be religious, but he is forgetting God. Let such beware lest he is overtaken by judgment. Let him glorify God by offering praise, and ordering his way aright; then indeed he will see the salvation of God.
These files are public domain.
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 50". "Smith's Writings". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20