Read: Psalm 50
You thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you. (v. 21)
This psalm presents a scathing critique of the wicked, naming “classic” sins like thievery, adultery, and slander. When the Bible presents lists like this, I tend to feel a little self-righteous. Surely, I’m one of the “faithful ones,” not “the wicked” who are being rebuked. Then I read: “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.”
How often do I assume that God is “silent” because I have attempted to follow the rules? Haven’t I proven that I’m faithful because I pray and give money to Christian causes? God answers, in effect, do you think I need your sacrifices or acts of faithfulness? Is God poor without them? God reminds us that he doesn’t need food to survive, and he doesn’t need our religious devotion to make a name for himself. We cannot impress God with our goodness or religious devotion. Instead, Jesus Christ alone is our true righteousness. He has paid our debt.
In response, all we can do is give thanks. Paul told us to offer our “bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom. 12:1). Because of Jesus, we can give our whole lives as an offering to God. For as the Lord says, “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me” (Ps. 50:23). —J. Todd Billings and Katlyn DeVries
As you pray, offer a “sacrifice of thanksgiving” for the gift of God’s grace in Christ.
About the Author
Dr. J. Todd Billings is the Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI. An ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America, he received his M.Div. from Fuller Seminary and his Th.D. from Harvard. Dr. Billings approaches the discipline of theology with a commitment to the ministry of the church. His varied experience in Christian ministry includes work in community development in Uganda, teaching theology in Ethiopia, working on staff at a Boston-area homeless shelter, and serving his local church in various leadership roles. He is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America.