Read the following psalm and allow it to be your prayer to God today.
Psalm 50 (NIV)
The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages. He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people: “Gather to me this consecrated people, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.
“Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God. I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
But to the wicked person, God says:
“What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you. When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son. When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you. But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you.
“Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.”
Psalm 50 (NRSV)
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 and does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, and a mighty tempest all around him. 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.
“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 wild animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine.
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and all that is in it is mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
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. You make friends with a thief when you see one, 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 kin; you slander your own mother’s child. These things you have done and I have been silent; you thought that I was one just like yourself. But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you.
“Mark this, then, you who forget God, or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to deliver. Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me; to those who go the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
Creative Options for Reading Psalms
Draw a Prayer
The Psalms are filled with rich imagery. After reading Psalm 50, draw the images that come to mind. You don’t have to be an artist to find value in drawing the images and emotions behind the Psalms.
If you don’t enjoy drawing, you can write out Psalm 50 using different colored pens or pencils. Creatively writing out the psalm can help you connect with it in a new way.
Listen to a Song
Poor Bishop Hooper publishes a new song each week. Each song creatively presents the words of a psalm.
You can find their song based on Psalm 50 here.
Read with a Friend
Find a friend or family member and read the psalm together. Together, talk about what Psalm 50 means to you. Sometimes having another perspective can help you gain new insights.
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