The mighty one, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
Our God comes and does not keep silence,
before him is a devouring fire,
and a mighty tempest all around him.
He calls to the heavens above
and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
‘Gather to me my faithful ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!’
The heavens declare his righteousness,
for God himself is judge.
‘Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
O Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt-offerings are continually before me.
I will not accept a bull from your house,
or goats from your folds.
For every wild animal of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the air,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
‘If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and all that is in it is mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls,
or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and pay your vows to the Most High.
Call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.’
But to the wicked God says:
‘What right have you to recite my statutes,
or take my covenant on your lips?
For you hate discipline,
and you cast my words behind you.
You make friends with a thief when you see one,
and you keep company with adulterers.
‘You give your mouth free rein for evil,
and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your kin;
you slander your own mother’s child.
These things you have done and I have been silent;
you thought that I was one just like yourself.
But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you.
‘Mark this, then, you who forget God,
or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to deliver.
Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honour me;
to those who go the right way
I will show the salvation of God.’
The whole reason for my attempt to get back into the Psalms on a daily basis is summed up in this Psalm: “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most high. Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify me… those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice Honor me; to those who go the right way I will show the salvation of God.” But, as you can see from the gapes in the dates of these posts, my intentions often remain well and good, but fruitless. This Psalm keeps me from feeling like a failure though. Here are Yahweh’s words about grace to His people. We are reminded (a much needed reminder) that our activity is not God’s pleasure.
This is the Mighty one, God Yahweh, who is perfect in beauty and shining forth calls forth His people to level one charge against them: their heart ain’t in it. Somewhere along the way, our hearts stop beating in our religious activity, whether that be songs we sing, daily devotional practices, church meetings, or anything else. We are all prone to apathy and religious observances out of rote practice. We need to get a shake up every so often. So here enters our great God: the God who doesn’t keep silent, the God who has a tempest and a devouring fire as His royal entourage, the God who can call heaven and earth and all creation to stand before Him. And in His glorious shining forth of perfect beauty, He reminds us to mean it.
God speaks these words of love and grace to remind his people to put their hearts into worshiping. He condemns those who think lip service will keep them in his good graces, and assures the wicked that His judgment is sure. But those who bring thanksgiving from the heart to god as their sacrifice of worship, these shall see the salvation of God.
So God, shake me up. I know this is a dangerous prayer, but i mean it. I want to see your salvation made real and incarnate in my life and in all the world. So bring this heart out of its self indulgence and vanity. Shake me awake from this apathetic slumber so that my heart can be in the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving I bring to you moment by moment. Show me your salvation!