Reflections on Psalm 50:

God the Almighty, God the Lord of all things and every creature — this is the God who speaks, and calls every person on the earth to listen. His Supreme Court is in session.

From the highest judicial level, set in the beauty of His holiness, God shines and illuminates His justice for those who do not close their eyes, or think they will never have to appear before His court.

He will come in His righteous robes and He will speak. When He comes, the fire of His Holy Spirit will devour worthless things as He moves forward; the wind of His Spirit will be a tempest that engulfs the flimsy constructions of self-worship.

He will call the holy angels as witnesses of his judgment of each defendant, for He is a God of justice. His court will deal first with those who have promised themselves to Him and have done what they could to honor their commitment. God will not charge them with neglect because of the material sacrifices they have made; He doesn’t need anything they could give Him. Everything on earth belongs to Him they have only given back what was already His.

No, what He will weigh are hearts that are thankful to Him in all things and all seasons; hearts that have keep their love for Him and have made Him Lord of their lives; hearts that have trusted Him to bring them through every trouble, and have openly praised Him for it. Though far from perfect, those hearts will tip the scales of His mercy.

But to those whose commitment was just lip service, God will say: “What right have you to stand here and make a claim? You have clenched your teeth and your fists at my teaching; you’ve thrown away my Word that you said you’d obey; you’ve joined the crowd that steals — fudging your expense claims, hiding income on your tax file, and more. You commit adultery and see nothing wrong with it. You lie about small things until your whole testimony is riddled with holes, and even lie to yourself that you belong to Me.”

To these defendants, God says: “You thought you could do these things and still get away with it because you were still going to church, still going through the motions of a follower of God. You thought your offerings would buy you an exemption from charges. You convinced yourself that I would excuse you as readily as you excused yourselves — that I wouldn’t really hold you accountable, that I must be as permissive as you are. But I want you to know that I am holy and I don’t deviate from my Word. You didn’t see the need to repent, so I will arraign you on every single charge. You will bear responsibility for every accusation you have brought on yourself.

“Take heed, you who imagine you can push Me aside and do things your own way, or your life will be torn to shreds which no one will be able to out back together. Those who honor Me with thankful hearts for my patience, love and mercy as they honestly seek to follow Me — only those will I acquit as blameless and release into the wonder of my salvation.”