May 24: Psalm 50
God the Judge of the Righteous and the Wicked
Short meter 66.86 Terra Beata (This is My Father’s World), p. 10
Diademata (Crown Him with Many Crowns), p. 20
St. Thomas (I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord), p. 19
The mighty God the Lord has spoken and did call
The earth from rising of the sun to where it has its fall.
From Zion’s holy hill, perfection’s high abode
Of matchless beauty, even thence in glory shineth God.
Our God shall surely come; keep silence shall not He;
Before Him fire shall waste; great storms shall round about Him be.
And to the heav’ns above He sendeth forth His call,
And also to the earth, that He may judge His people all.
“Together let My saints before Me gathered be;
Those that by sacrifice have made a covenant with Me.”
Then shall the heavn’s declare His righteousness abroad,
Because He only is the judge; yea, none is judge but God.
“O ye, My people, hear; I’ll speak and testify
Against thee, O thou Is-ra-el, for God, thy God, am I.
For sacrifices I no blame will on thee lay,
Nor for burnt offerings of thine before Me every day.
“I’ll take no calf nor goat from house or fold of thine;
For cattle on a thousand hills and all wild beasts are Mine.
The birds of mountains great are all to Me well known;
The beasts that roam the field untamed, they, too, are all My own.
“Then if I hungry were I would not tell it thee,
Because the world with all its wealth belongeth unto Me.
Will I eat flesh of bulls? Or goats’ blood drink will I?
Thanksgiving offer thou, and pay thy vows to God Most High.
“And do thou call on Me when troubled days draw nigh;
To thee I’ll give deliverance; thou shalt me glorify.”
“He honors Me who brings the sacrifice of praise,
I’ll God’s salvation show to him who orders right his ways.”(vs.23)
But to the wicked man saith God, “How dost thou dare
To take My cov’nant in Thy mouth, my statues to declare?
Since thou dost even hate the warnings thou hast heard,
And thou hast thrown behind thy back the teachings of My word?
“Thou gavest thy consent when thou a thief hast seen;
And with the vile adulterer thou has partaker been.
Thy mouth to ill is giv’n; thy tongue deceit doth frame,
Thou dost against thy brother speak, thy mother’s son defame.
“Because I silence kept while thou these things hast wrought,
That I was wholly like thyself has been thy very thought.
Yet I will thee reprove and set before thine eyes,
Arrayed in order, thy misdeeds and thine iniquities.
“Now ye that God forget, consider this with care,
Lest I when there is none to save should you in pieces tear.
He honors Me who brings the sacrifice of praise,
I’ll God’s salvation show to him who orders right his ways.”
Psalm 50 takes up a favorite motif of the prophetic books – God’s displeasure at a mere external observance of religious practices, without true faith, inner repentance, moral responsibility, and the gift of the heart. Like Isaiah, this psalm stresses in particular the moral or ethical character required of the true worshipper. The sin especially condemned in the false worshipper tends to be social sin, sin against other people in the outside, nonritual world. He offends his fellow man, whether by neglecting his duties of mercy, or by actively inflicting injustice. All the Bible cries out the impossibility of loving the God whom we do not see, without loving the brother whom we do see (1 John 4:20). The sin of such a man comes from his inadequate, truly pathetic idea of God: “Wickedly you thought I was like you.” In fact, God is not in the least like us, and the first part of the psalm graphically describes the awesome majesty of the God whom we approach in adoration. The worship of God is no place for moral or any other sort of nonsense. (Reardon, p. 97-98)