On Selling Cattle

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Psalm 50

A Psalm of Asaph. 

 1  The Mighty One, God the Lord, 
speaks and summons the earth 
from the rising of the sun to its setting. 

 2  Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, 
God shines forth. 

 3  Our God comes; he does not keep silence
before him is a devouring fire, 
around him a mighty tempest. 

 4  He calls to the heavens above 
and to the earth, that he may judge his people: 

 5  “Gather to me my faithful ones, 
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!” 

 6  The heavens declare his righteousness, 
for God himself is judge! Selah

 7  “Hear, O my people, and I will speak; 
O Israel, I will testify against you. 
I am God, your God. 

 8  Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; 
your burnt offerings are continually before me. 

 9  I will not accept a bull from your house 
or goats from your folds. 

 10  For every beast of the forest is mine, 
the cattle on a thousand hills. 

 11  I know all the birds of the hills, 
and all that moves in the field is mine. 

 12  “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, 
for the world and its fullness are mine. 

 13  Do I eat the flesh of bulls 
or drink the blood of goats? 

 14  Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High, 

15  and call upon me in the day of trouble; 
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” 

 16  But to the wicked God says: 
What right have you to recite my statutes 
or take my covenant on your lips? 

 17  For you hate discipline, 
and you cast my words behind you. 

 18  If you see a thief, you are pleased with him, 
and you keep company with adulterers. 

 19  “You give your mouth free rein for evil, 
and your tongue frames deceit. 

 20  You sit and speak against your brother; 
you slander your own mother’s son. 

 21  These things you have done, and I have been silent; 
you thought that was one like yourself. 

But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you. 

 22  “Mark this, then, you who forget God, 
lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver! 

 23  The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; 
to one who orders his way rightly 
I will show the salvation of God!” 

Notes on Psalm 50 by Thomas Constable

Verse 1

Asaph pictured God as the cosmic Judge summoning all people to stand before Him.
The titles Mighty One, God, and Yahweh, present the Lord as the greatest of all judges.
His ability to command all of humanity also shows His greatness.

Verses 1-6

1. The heavenly Judge 50:1-6

Verses 1-23

This psalm pictures God seated in His heavenly throne room.
He has two indictments against His people Israel.
The wicked among them were hypocritical in their worship,
a violation of the first part of the Decalogue,
and in their interpersonal relationships, a violation of the second part.
They needed to return to Him wholeheartedly.
This is a didactic psalm written to teach God’s people an important lesson.

"This psalm is the speech of God, who addresses his covenant partner concerning matters of violated covenant.
After the narrative introduction of Psalms 50:1-6 (NAS)"

The Mighty One, God, the Lord, has spoken,
And summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth.
3
May our God come and not keep silence;
Fire devours before Him, And it is very tempestuous around Him.
4
He summons the heavens above, And the earth, to judge His people:
5 'Gather My godly ones to Me, Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.'
6
And the heavens declare His righteousness, For God Himself is judge. Selah.

Psalms 50:1-6: it is all one extended speech in the form of a decree with no room for negotiation.

The Levitical musician, Asaph, evidently wrote this psalm, as well as Psalms 73-83

Verses 2-3

God came out of His holy habitation on Mt. Zion to judge.
Fire and storms frequently accompanied God in s,
and they symbolize irresistible judgment and awesome power.

"His appearance (theophany) is attended by phenomena designed to inspire ’fear’ in man: fire and a tempest.
God is like ’a consuming fire’" (cf. Deuteronomy 4:24 (NAS)

"For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."
(Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 9:3 NAS)

3
"Know therefore today that it is the Lord your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire.
He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you,
so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the Lord has spoken to you.
"

"For the Lord will execute judgment by fire And by His sword on all flesh,
And those slain by the Lord will be many." (Isaiah 6616O

"...for our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29) when he comes in judgment.
In his anger he may storm like a ’tempest’

"For behold, the Lord will come in fire And His chariots like the whirlwind,
To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire."
(Isaiah 66:15) 

Verses 4-6

Asaph described God summoning those living in heaven,
the angels, and on earth, mortals, to serve as witnesses in the trial.
Israel is the defendant.
The covenant in view is the Mosaic Covenant,
under which the nation had obligations to God.
The writer called on the angels to declare the Judge righteous,
a way of affirming that He is just.

God spoke to His people as their God and as their Judge.
They had sinned against Him.

Verses 7-15

2. Charge 1: formalistic worship 50:7-15

Verses 8-13

He was not charging them with failure to offer the sacrifices He had prescribed.
They had done that.
They erred in thinking that offering sacrifices was all He expected.
He reminded them that He did not need their offerings.
He already owned everything they presented to Him.
The pagans believed they maintained their gods by offering them food,
but Yahweh reminded His people that He did not need their sacrifices.

"There is a note of sarcasm in the use of the pronoun ’your’ in ’your stall’ and in ’your pens’ (Psalms 50:9 (NAS).
It is as if God has heard them proudly say, ’This is my bull/goat from my stall/pen!’
To this boastful claim God responds solemnly with an emphatic ’mine’ (Psalms 50:10 (NAS)
10
'For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. Psalms 50:10...)
and concludes his claim with a restatement of his ownership that would linger in the hearts of the hearers: ’mine’
11
'I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine. (Psalms 50:11).
His rule extends to all creation."

Verses 14-15

God wanted His people to give Him what giving their animals and produce represented, namely, their gratitude.
Thank offerings expressed gratitude for something God had done for the offerer.
Votive offerings were also expressions of thanks.
God wanted His people to look to Him for their needs, and when He provided,
He wanted them to honor Him with gratitude. In other words,
He wanted them to enjoy a vital relationship with Himself,
not just a formal one in which He was their God and they were His people.

Verses 16-17

The Lord also charged the wicked in Israel with professing allegiance to Him while disobeying Him.

Verses 16-21

3. Charge 2: hypocritical living 50:16-21

Verses 18-20

These verses contain specific instances of the Israelites’ hypocrisy.
They loved what God hated. Furthermore, they did not allow God’s will to govern their speech (cf. James 3:1-12 (NAS)
1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.
2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.
3 Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.
4 Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds,
are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.
5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body,
and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. …(James 3:1-12)

"In the present verse there may be an implication, too,
of the hypocrisy of enjoying sin at second-hand while keeping out of trouble oneself;
and this would be in character with the deviousness portrayed in 19 and 20." [Note: Kidner, p. 188.] 

Verse 21

The people evidently concluded that because God did not judge them for their sinful ways, their sins did not matter to Him.
Such was not the case.
Their sins did not matter to them. Judgment was coming.
They would have to account for their actions.

Verses 22-23

4. A final warning 50:22-23

God let His people off with a warning.
However, they should remember Him and the fact that He would judge them eventually.
Heartfelt gratitude and obedience would honor God and bring His deliverance.
Simply going through the motions of worshiping and giving a misleading appearance of godliness would incur His wrath.

This psalm is a sober warning to God’s people of all time.
We may deceive ourselves into thinking external conformity and pious words please God.
However, only reality in our relationships with Him and our fellow human beings wins His approval.
We should remember that one day we really shall stand before the righteous Judge and give an account of our lives
10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body,
according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10).
We should live now with that reality in mind.

Notes on this Psalm by David Guzik

 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns;
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they? 
Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

 “So why do you worry about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 
Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, 
will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 
 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:25-34)

PSALMS 37

The Heritage of the Righteous and the Calamity of the Wicked
A  Psalm of David.

Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.
For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.

For yet a little while and the wicked shall  be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall  be no more.
But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

The wicked plots against the just,
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees that his day is coming.
The wicked have drawn the sword
And have bent their bow,
To cast down the poor and needy,
To slay those who are of upright conduct.
Their sword shall enter their own heart,
And their bows shall be broken.

A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
But the Lord upholds the righteous.

The Lord knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever.
They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,
And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

But the wicked shall perish;
And the enemies of the Lord,
Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish.

Into smoke they shall vanish away.
The wicked borrows and does not repay,
But the righteous shows mercy and gives.

For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth,
But those cursed by Him shall be cut off.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him  with His hand.

I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.
He  is ever merciful, and lends;
And his descendants are blessed.
Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forevermore.
For the Lord loves justice,

And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.

The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.
The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,
And his tongue talks of justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide.

The wicked watches the righteous,
And seeks to slay him.
The Lord  will not leave him in his hand,
Nor condemn him when he is judged.

Wait on the Lord,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
I have seen the wicked in great power,
And spreading himself like a native green tree.

Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.
Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;
For the future of that man is peace.

But the transgressors shall be destroyed together;
The future of the wicked shall be cut off.
But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
He  is their strength in the time of trouble.

And the Lord shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,
Because they trust in Him.


A Deeper Principle

Israel was never to forget the forty years of God’s care in the desert when Yahweh alone had provided food to eat, clothing to wear, and sandals that never wore thin. In their new and prosperous state in the “land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8; Numbers 14:8; Deuteronomy 31:20; Ezekiel 20:15), they might begin to feel self-satisfied, as if somehow they had obtained all these blessings in their own strength.

In the wilderness, God had humbled the Israelites by letting them go hungry. Then He fed them with manna so that they would have to depend on Him alone for daily provision. Manna was a type of food that was previously unknown—no one had ever had manna before (Exodus 16:15. This food symbolized God’s divine intervention to sustain their lives. If they tried to provide for themselves by hoarding manna for the next day, the food always spoiled. Each day and each step of the way, the people had to be fed by Yahweh.


Through this wilderness test, the people of Israel came to understand that their survival did not depend on one of God’s gifts alone, whether bread or manna, but on every word that came out of the mouth of God. Their existence depended on obeying every single one of God’s commands. It is not just food that gives people life. Without God’s divinely given Word, food may not be available. It is not by bread alone that we live, but by everything that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord—that is, anything and everything that God chooses to give us. God alone is the real source of life and everything in that life for His people (John 15:1–5; John 14:6). He is our all in all.

God’s Word, the Scriptures, is life-giving and life-sustaining. Jesus said, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63; see also Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16–17).

When Jesus was hungry in the wilderness, Satan tried to get Him to rely on his own self-provision—to turn stones into bread—rather than wait on God’s provision. But Jesus did nothing of His own will: “My food,” said Jesus at another time, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34). He relied on every word of God and refused to act independently. Jesus was obedient to the point of death on the cross (Philippians 2:8). As Moses reminded the people of Israel to depend on the Lord to meet their every need, man shall not live by bread alone ought to remind us to do the same. We owe our blessings and prosperity to God’s divine provision. The trusting obedience the Son of God demonstrated—and which Israel failed at time and time again—we do well to imitate. When we’re hungry or experiencing some form of deprivation, we must depend on God to meet our daily needs and remember to obey His Word. And when life is good and we’re feeling prosperous and blessed, we give thanks to the Lord our God, for it is He who provides us with the ability to obtain wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18). God our Father gives every good and perfect gift (James 1:17) and every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).--From GotQuestions.org.






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