That’s Psalm 50 in a nutshell.
Recently in Montana, my mind was drawn to this Psalm as I observed the cattle scattered about the foothills of the Crazy Mountains.
“For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.”
(Psalm 50:10 ESV)
The Psalm starts with a summons:
“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; he does not keep silence;
before him is a devouring fire,
around him a mighty tempest.
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! Selah”
(Psalm 50:1-6 ESV)
Then God judges His people; he testifies against them–not as a final judgment, but in correction, as a Father.
“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 beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.”
(Psalm 50:7-11 ESV)
God owns everything; He needs nothing from us and we give Him nothing but our neediness, our call in the day of trouble.
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
(Psalm 50:12-15 ESV)
God mercifully warns the wicked. He is not like man–He does not stay silent forever.
“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.
If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
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 brother;
you slander your own mother’s son.
These things you have done, and I have been silent;
you thought that I was one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.”
(Psalm 50:16-21 ESV)
Salvation has come! His name is Jesus. I order my way rightly by seeing my needfulness and His ownership.
“Mark this, then, you who forget God,
lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”
(Psalm 50:22-23 ESV)