God as Judge
A psalm of Asaph.
1 The Mighty One, God,[a] the Lord, speaks;
he summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 From Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God appears in radiance.[b]
3 Our God is coming; he will not be silent!
Devouring fire precedes him,
and a storm rages around him.
4 On high, he summons heaven and earth
in order to judge his people:
5 “Gather my faithful ones to me,
those who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
for God is the Judge.Selah
7 “Listen, my people, and I will speak;
I will testify against you, Israel.
I am God, your God.
8 I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices
or for your burnt offerings,
which are continually before me.
9 I will not take a bull from your household
or male goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird of the mountains,
and the creatures of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and everything in it is mine.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
14 Offer a thanksgiving sacrifice to God,
and pay your vows to the Most High.
15 Call on me in a day of trouble;
I will rescue you, and you will honor me.”
16 But God says to the wicked:
“What right do you have to recite my statutes
and to take my covenant on your lips?
17 You hate instruction
and fling my words behind you.
18 When you see a thief,
you make friends with him,
and you associate with adulterers.
19 You unleash your mouth for evil
and harness your tongue for deceit.
20 You sit, maligning your brother,
slandering your mother’s son.
21 You have done these things, and I kept silent;
you thought I was just like you.
But I will rebuke you
and lay out the case before you.[c]
22 “Understand this, you who forget God,
or I will tear you apart,
and there will be no one to rescue you.
23 Whoever offers a thanksgiving sacrifice honors me,
and whoever orders his conduct,
I will show him the salvation of God.”
A Portrait of Sinners
For the choir director: on Mahalath. A Maskil of David.
1 The fool says in his heart, “There’s no God.”
They are corrupt, and they do vile deeds.
There is no one who does good.
2 God looks down from heaven on the human race[a]
to see if there is one who is wise,
one who seeks God.
3 All have turned away;
all alike have become corrupt.
There is no one who does good,
not even one.
4 Will evildoers never understand?
They consume my people as they consume bread;
they do not call on God.
5 Then they will be filled with dread—
dread like no other—
because God will scatter
the bones of those who besiege you.
You will put them to shame,
for God has rejected them.
6 Oh, that Israel’s deliverance would come from Zion!
When God restores the fortunes of his people,[b]
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
Prayer in Difficult Times
For the choir director: according to “The Lily of Testimony.” A Miktam of David for teaching. When he fought with Aram-naharaim and Aram-zobah, and Joab returned and struck Edom in Salt Valley, killing twelve thousand.
1 God, you have rejected us;
you have broken us down;
you have been angry. Restore us![a]
2 You have shaken the land and split it open.
Heal its fissures, for it shudders.
3 You have made your people suffer hardship;
you have given us wine to drink
that made us stagger.
4 You have given a signal flag to those who fear you,
so that they can flee before the archers.[b]Selah
5 Save with your right hand, and answer me,
so that those you love may be rescued.
6 God has spoken in his sanctuary:[c]
“I will celebrate!
I will divide up Shechem.
I will apportion the Valley of Succoth.
7 Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine,
and Ephraim is my helmet;
Judah is my scepter.
8 Moab is my washbasin.
I throw my sandal on Edom;
I shout in triumph over Philistia.”
9 Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
10 God, haven’t you rejected us?
God, you do not march out with our armies.
11 Give us aid against the foe,
for human help is worthless.
12 With God we will perform valiantly;
he will trample our foes.
God Judges the Wicked
For the choir director: “Do Not Destroy.” A psalm of Asaph. A song.
1 We give thanks to you, God;
we give thanks to you, for your name is near.
People tell about your wondrous works.
2 “When I choose a time,
I will judge fairly.
3 When the earth and all its inhabitants shake,
I am the one who steadies its pillars.Selah
4 I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn.
5 Do not lift up your horn against heaven[a]
or speak arrogantly.’”
6 Exaltation does not come
from the east, the west, or the desert,
7 for God is the Judge:
He brings down one and exalts another.
8 For there is a cup in the Lord’s hand,
full of wine blended with spices, and he pours from it.
All the wicked of the earth will drink,
draining it to the dregs.
9 As for me, I will tell about him forever;
I will sing praise to the God of Jacob.
10 “I will cut off all the horns of the wicked,
but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.”
Psalm 53 opens with the title “Mahalath” and many feel that this term is a description for a sickness or a weakness. This translation of the word is not 100% but for today’s reading it serves as a good description for the condition of man. As we read Psalm 53 we are reminded that the fool says there is no God and that there is no one who does good. And the Psalm ends with a yearning for God to come and deliver His people. If not careful we may read the end of Psalm 53 and think that we need deliverance from “those” other bad people. That may have been the case if we are not reminded in verse 3 that there is no one who does good. Today realize that we all have a sickness – it’s called being human and there is no cure other than the salvation of Jesus.