I was recently struck by the essential message of Psalm 50, and it stood out to me as I prepared to celebrate Thanksgiving. And even though Thanksgiving is primarily an American holiday where families get together and have a feast, I was reminded of God’s desire to be served a feast by His family.
Psalm 50:5,8-10 – 5 “Gather My godly ones to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.. 8 I do not reprove you for your sacrifices, and your burnt offerings are continually before Me. 9 I shall take no young bull out of your house nor male goats out of your folds. 10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
These were “godly ones” who were continually sacrificing burnt offerings to God. Burnt offerings were unique in that the WHOLE animal was offered to God and symbolized total consecration to God. So these people were continually making burnt offerings, sacrificing entire animals to God. But the Lord still had a serious issue with these saints.
And if I read verses 14-15 in context of verses 12-13, God tells me that He is not “hungry” for animal sacrifices. The contrast is that GOD IS HUNGRY FOR and IS SATISFIED BY a few things:
1. SIMPLE AND SINCERE PRAISE
Psalm 50:14a – Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving..
These people were careful to offer all the prescribed burnt offerings. But they didn’t offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, which was a freewill offering (Amos 4:5), and was based purely on one’s deeply personal response to God.
God is hungry for the simple but sincere praise from His people.
It is a precious thought to think that God salivates over our simple and sincere praise – much more than all the lavish burnt offerings of whole animals (remember the two-mite woman in Mark 12:41-44).
2. PEOPLE OF OUR WORD
Psalm 50:14b – ..and pay your vows to the Most High.
God is also famished for people who keep their word to Him. If we commit to do something in our lives before God, He wants us to earnestly seek to follow through on it. We must eliminate ALL excuses for why we can’t do it. God doesn’t force us to make promises and vows to Him – but He does want us to be earnestly seeking to be faithful to what we claim to believe.
But what if we have made commitments to the Lord and broken it repeatedly – that we think it might be safer to just not make any commitments? I surely feel that way at times.
The good news is that the Lord shows us the way to have the strength to keep our word.
3. ASK FOR HELP
Psalm 50:15 – Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.
That’s what God asks me to do when we are struggling to offer praise and be people of our word. We must CARE ENOUGH to call to God for help. We must not give in to discouragement and despair but take the extra step to call on God and keep calling on God. Scripture clearly shows us that GOD DELIGHTS TO GIVE US THE HOLY SPIRIT (Luke 11:9-13).
PREPARING A FEAST FOR GOD
The Message puts it this way: Spread for me a banquet of praise, serve High God a feast of kept promises. And call for help when you’re in trouble – I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”
Imagine a massive feast - your Thanksgiving meal, or a lavish wedding, or your favorite all-you-can-eat buffet – where all our favorite delicacies are served. Just the thought of this can get us salivating. This gives us a picture of how God salivates when His children offer Him genuine praise, are people of our word, AND call out to Him for help when we are in trouble.
Asaph ends his psalm summarizing these three points again.
Psalm 50:23 – He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.
Voluntarily offer simple and sincere thanks to God. We can be eternally thankful because we hold fast to the reality of who God is (He is infinitely good), and because we are fully confident that God is able to work EVERY SINGLE THING (including our mistakes and past failures) for our eternal good.
Order my way aright. I walk by faith not by my feelings (2 Corinthians 5:7). And I keep securing my faith to God’s unshakeable word. Remember the story of Fact, Faith, and Feeling - we must "order" our feelings to get in line behind our faith, and our faith resting on God's guaranteed promises.
Seek to see the Salvation of God. Every time I see the word “salvation” in Scripture I get excited. Because that’s another way of calling Jesus by His Name (Matthew 1:21). So when God promises to show us His salvation, He is telling us that He will show us the genuine glorious Jesus.
And it is the Holy Spirit alone who can reveal the glory of Jesus (John 16:14). No amount of penance or human striving can do that. And no amount of intense Bible study or sacrificial acts can do that. These people here in Psalm 50, and the Pharisees in Jesus’s time, did all of that. And no amount of wisdom and intelligence can do that either (Matthew 11:25).
So I must do one extra step after I offer simple and sincere praise, and after I order my way aright. I must call on the Lord because I want to see the supernatural glory of Jesus. And I must keep calling on Him – over and over and over and over again – imitating simple children who cry for food when hungry. Only those who are thirsty for God even after a week-long celebration of His goodness will receive the Holy Spirit without limit (John 7:37-39). And the greatest ministry of the Holy Spirit is to show us the true spiritual glory of Jesus.
May God help me and help us to prepare a salivating feast for Him in the days to come.