Psalm 50, A Preliminary Meeting With Your Judge
1. The Mighty God Himself Will Be Your Judge (v1-6)
2. Fill Your Empty Religion With Thankfulness, Faithfulness And Humility (v7-15)
3. Repent And Stop Pretending Religion (v16-23)
Psalm 50, A Preliminary Meeting With Your Judge
Psalm 50, A Preliminary Meeting With Your Judge
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As we look at Psalm Chapter 50 this morning, I've titled the Message.
A preliminary meeting with your judge.
A preliminary meeting.
With your judge, here's Psalm chapter 50.
The psalmist is, Asaph, and he records this incredible scene of the creator of the heavens and the Earth rising up.
To bring about judgment and it foreshadows that time when all of Creation will stand before him, and given an account at the end of days that that final judgment that will take place it it has hints towards that it reflects that a little bit, but it's not specifically addressing.
That final judgment, it's kind of a interim judgment.
It's a preliminary hearing or a preliminary meeting.
And as we look at the Somme this morning, I would remind us all.
To reflect and to consider this fact this reality, we will all stand before God to give account for our lives.
Every single one of us will stand before God and will be laid open our hearts, our minds, our attitudes, everything we've ever done or said will be laid open before God and we will give.
And account our actions for our attitudes for our words.
The things that we did and the things that we did not do that God had given us opportunity to do.
And the psalmist here is envisioning kind of a preliminary hearing.
A preliminary meeting with the judge before that final one.
As an opportunity for the judge to call out where we actually are.
You might think of it as.
In a school setting, some teachers, some professors have.
Midterm meetings with students and our parents right to help do an evaluation and let the parent know.
Hey, we're halfway through.
Here's where your kids should be, and then here is where your kid is at right.
Or if you're the student, here's where you should be, and here's where you're at and kind of set the course for the final stretch of the semester or of the school year to to help.
End successfully no matter where you are at in the middle, some sports have halftimes and I don't know anything about.
Sports, but I.
Would imagine there's locker room meetings right where.
OK, here's what we happened in the first half.
Here's what we did wrong in the first half.
Let's kind of refocus.
Ourselves and have a completely different second half as we re-evaluate our tactics and strategies and try to do something different.
In a similar way that the judge of all the earth is called a meeting.
And he's called to meet with you and I this morning and he says I need to help you evaluate where you're at.
To help you consider what your spiritual life is really like and you know, sometimes we need that reality check.
Sometimes we are so delusional in our understanding of things.
Sometimes we live in a fantasy world where we have this facade and and we're desperately trying to hold on to that, and sometimes we don't even really recognize it, and so we need someone external.
Perhaps the judge of all creation, the Lord of the heavens and Earth.
To give us.
Good perspective on the truth.
And the judge here in this Psalm is going to address two groups.
Both groups that he addresses are his people, those who had identified as the people of God, and both groups greatly misunderstand.
What it means to have a walk with God.
Both groups misunderstand sacrifice.
Both groups misunderstand religion.
And so there's some insight here from the judge who will be the final evaluator at the end to say, hey, I I could see where you're headed and I need to let you know you're not quite on track as much as you think you are.
And so we need to hear from the judge we need to.
Be open to some insights that he has to provide for us this morning.
Pastor Warren Wiersbe says the purpose of this trial.
Was not to judge and condemn the sinners, but to expose their sins and give them opportunity to repent and turn.
To the Lord.
And that's what God desires to do, he doesn't.
Walk us through these things to try to make us go away feeling awful about ourselves, but he walks us through these things so that.
We can have an opportunity.
To acknowledge the truth of where we're at.
But then to turn to him.
For help so that we don't continue.
Down that path.
Again, we will all stand before God.
To give account for our lives.
And you should consider this morning.
What if this is your half time?
And the Lord, using this Psalm, would want to speak to you about where you're at, and perhaps change the latter half so that going forward, you're not continuing on as you have been.
Or maybe halftime is too generous?
What if God has called this timeout with two minutes to go?
And it says like it's, you got 2 minutes left.
It's not too late.
You can head it back into the game.
You can go back on the clock and finish well even from this point here this morning we get to have this preliminary meeting with our judge.
To help us evaluate and recognize where we're at.
And where God desires for us to be, and so this Psalm here is really divided into 3 sections, we'll look at these three sections as three points.
The first one is found here in verses one through 6.
Point #1 this morning.
The mighty God himself will be your judge.
The mighty God himself will be your judge.
Check out verse one.
It says the Lord, the mighty one is God.
And he has spoken.
He has summoned all humanity from where the sun rises to where it sets.
As we were introduced to this song, we're introduced to the Lord in a unique way.
He's calling reference to the Lord in different means, using some different words.
The Lord, the mighty one and God, and it's really a way to put high esteem and honor and reverence upon the Lord.
Recognizing again, we're not just talking about.
Hey God, we're not just talking about something common.
But there is something splendid, something spectacular, something awe inspiring about.
Our God, even in our own courtrooms.
Traditions, some things built in to make sure that there is proper esteem and respect given.
And so when the judge stands or enters the room, the courtroom stands to their feet.
The judges addressed as your Honor right there there is this built in components to make sure the proper esteem is given as the judge presides over a case in a similar way, we're reminded here that there needs to be the the appropriate understanding of who it is that we're dealing with.
It is the Lord, the mighty one could also be translated the Almighty 1.
We're talking about Yahweh.
Sometimes pronounced jehovah.
The God of Israel, the God who created the heavens and the earth and verse two and three go on to describe this glorious courtroom scene.
As the judge enters the court.
He enters, it tells us in verse 2.
From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty.
God shines in glorious radiance.
Our God approaches and he is not silent.
Fire devours everything in his way, and a great storm rages around him.
We get little hints here in glimpses of similar passages throughout the scriptures of the glory of God.
The brightness of God, and it's this awesome.
Presence that is being described here so that just as he goes the the fire devary devours everything in his way.
Nothing stands in the way of God, right?
That there is a purging and purifying as the Lord moves.
The fire devours.
the Great Storm rages around him.
We just saw a few weeks back in the Book of Job.
God spoke to job out of the storm, right?
And he is the Lord of all storms, the Lord of All Creation there is thunders and Lightnings, and impressive scenes, whenever the Lord is present.
You can check out Isaiah Chapter 6 right the time when Isaiah is caught up into heaven and sees the Lord High and lifted up and the train of his robe fills the temple.
The Seraphim are crying out.
Holy, Holy Holy Lord God almighty.
Many other scenes reflects this kind of imagery and pictures for us, recognizing that God is not a creature.
He is not just a powerful being, he is the Almighty.
He is the creator.
And he has summoned.
It tells us in verse one all humanity has the right to summon all humanity.
Because he is the creator of all humanity.
So he says you you, you, you and you, you're
You're my creation.
Come sit down.
Let's have a talk I need to meet with you.
And have a little bit of a conversation.
It tells us in verse four he calls on the heavens above and the earth below to witness the judgment.
Of his people.
He's able to do this because he is the creator.
And so he says, galaxies, stars, universe pay attention here while I talk to my people.
Trees, rocks, mountains, rivers, valleys pay attention here as I have this conversation.
Heavens and Earth are going to witness.
That God has for his people.
Now this is different.
But it's different than the Great White Throne judgment.
In revelation Chapter 20, it describes for us that final judgment.
Where the dead small and great will stand before God and anyone whose name is not written in the Book of Life, they will be cast into the.
Lake of fire.
That great White Throne judgment that final judgment is hinted at here, but this is not that quite yet, because at that judgment there will not be time and opportunity.
To change and make a difference, that's when the game is over.
The score is set.
There is no going back in changing it.
This judgment is not that this judgment is a judgment that we still have opportunity.
To make a difference, to make a change and to live out from here on out in a way that is different than we have been living before.
And so there is the great White Throne judgment that's primarily for unbelievers who have rejected the Lord.
I shouldn't say primarily, that is for unbelievers.
There is also a judgment for believers.
That's a little bit different, mentioned by Paul in Second Corinthians Chapter 5.
As there he's talking about being absent from this body is to be present.
With the Lord.
Paul says so.
We aim to please him, whether here or there.
Our aim is to please him.
Because we recognize that all must stand before Christ to be judged.
And each of us will receive whatever we deserve for good or for evil, that we have done in.
This earthly body
Again, we need to understand that we will stand before God and give accounts.
Of our lives.
As believers in Jesus, there is the great benefit of forgiveness that we have and so we will not be judged in the sense of penalized for sin.
It's often described that this judgment here for believers in Second Corinthians Chapter 5 is like an Olympic judgment where it's a determination of what rewards are received rather than what penalty should be given.
It's a good picture.
But I would encourage you to not think of it in a way that it takes away from the idea that you will stand before God and give an account.
Jesus even said in Matthew chapter 12.
That each of us will have to give an account on the judgment day, even for every idle word.
That we speak. Matthew Chapter 12, verse 36.
And so understand this scene.
Understand this picture.
It's not some distant thing or far off that other people have to deal with, but.
You will never.
Face you and I will each face ID.
Where we stand before God.
And we give account for our lives.
We give account for our actions for our thoughts, for our attitudes, for our decisions, for what we did, and what we did not.
God goes on in verse 5 to say, bring my faithful people to me, those who made a covenant with me by giving sacrifices again.
Notice who God calling to meet with him in this preliminary meeting.
It's not those who have rejected God, not those who have, you know, abandoned God or never known God this.
Is a meeting.
Between God and his people.
Those who made a covenant with him.
Now of course, the initial understanding and and the way that we understand this Psalm initially is looking at the nation of Israel, who is the covenant people of God, and there's important things to to learn from that lesson.
At the same time, I would be quick to remind us that we also are those who have made a covenant with God as believers in Jesus.
We partake of communion regularly to remember the new covenant that Jesus established in his blood. Luke Chapter 22 is Jesus Institutes communion. He says this. What is the new covenant?
Or this cut brother is the.
New covenant in my blood.
It represents that new covenant made with God, that by faith in Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
We are washed.
We have the promise of eternity.
The presence of the Holy Spirit and God.
Great work in our life by faith in Jesus Christ.
But that's who this judgment is for, so again, that doesn't take us out of any responsibility for our lives or actions.
In fact, it intensifies.
Our responsibility for our lives and for our actions.
And there will be a day and God calls all creation to witness this preliminary meeting.
Foreshadowing that time when you and I will actually stand before God.
And our lives will be opened.
The books will be opened.
And evaluations will be made by.
The judge, verse 6 then let the heavens proclaim his justice.
For God himself will be the judge.
And pay attention to that.
God himself will be.
There is not going to be an Angel.
You know, sometimes the.
Jokes about heaven usually start out, you know, with meeting St.
Peter at the gate right?
And why should I let you in?
And there's like a judgment.
There's an evaluation.
Met by Saints and Angel.
Various jokes and stories tell it different ways, of course.
But you're not gonna stand before Saint Peter.
And give an account for your life.
You're going to stand before God himself.
You're going to stand before Jesus Christ.
And your life will be evaluated.
By him now.
The seriousness of this.
Understand also the extent.
The author of Hebrews and Hebrews Chapter 4 tells us.
The word of God is alive and powerful.
It's sharper than the sharpest 2 edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit between joints and marrow, it exposes.
Our innermost thoughts and desires.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God.
Everything is naked and exposed from before his eyes.
And he is the one to whom we are accountable.
Who do we give an account to, not someone who has to take our word for it.
Not someone that we can convince of something that is not true.
The word of God is able to Pierce through. It exposes the innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes the reality of our hearts and so we can have everybody else fooled. And maybe we can even perhaps fool Saint Peter at Heaven's Gate.
But when we stand before God.
The truth of our innermost thoughts and desires.
Will be laid.
Bare nothing in all creation is hidden from God, everything is naked and exposed.
And that's the one that we have.
To give an account to.
There's no fooling God.
There's no faking God, the mighty God himself, the creator of the heavens and the earth, the one who knows all things, sees all things and knows exactly what's happening within us.
That's the one who will.
Call us to give account.
For what we did with what he had.
Given to us.
For the things that we said, the actions that we took, the decisions that we made, the mighty God himself will be your judge.
But he's given us a little bit of material to help us prepare for that meeting, so we don't just have to go in blindly.
So here we have Psalm chapter 50.
A preliminary meeting to help us prepare to help us understand and recognize what's coming that we can be prepared to stand before him that day.
Unashamed a worker who does not need to be ashamed, right?
Rightly dividing the word of truth that that we can stand before him without fear.
And so we need to understand his message to these two groups of people, and that's what we'll see next. Verses 7 through 15 gives us the first group. Here's point, #2.
Fill your empty religion with thankfulness, faithfulness, and humility.
As we look at these verses, we can see what God is addressing.
Here is an outward religiosity, an outward religion.
With no real heart or depth.
The people of God are experiencing.
Let's read verses 7 through 15, it says.
Oh my people.
Listen as I speak.
Here are my charges against you.
I am God your God.
I have no complaint about your sacrifices.
Or the burnt offerings you constantly offer.
But I do not need the Bulls from your barns or the goats from your pens.
For all the animals of the forest, our mind, and I own the cattle on 1000 hills.
I know every bird on the mountains and all the animals of the field are mine.
If I were hungry.
I would not tell you.
For all the.
World is mine and everything in it.
Do I eat the meats of bulls?
Do I drink the blood of goats?
Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God.
And keep the vows you made to the most high.
Then call on me when you are in trouble and I will rescue you and you will give me.
Here in these verses we see the judge assess.
And his conclusion is.
You are religious.
But your religion is empty.
Sacrifice is not a substitute for real relationship with God.
Now, of course, in the context of this Psalm, it is the old covenant.
It is the time where the sacrificial sacrifices were still in place, and still the method that God had prescribed for people to approach him and to have right relationship with him.
And so the sacrifices he's talking about are the little literal sacrifices that were given to us in the law.
That moves on through the Ministry of Jesus and what he accomplished for us to a new covenant.
Where we approach God, not by walking in that sacrificial system, but why, by walking in faith in Jesus Christ, and there's some differences to the old covenant and to the new covenant.
But there's more parallels and similarities than there are differences.
Both covenants are meant to be.
A means and a method for people to have real relationship with God.
Right standing with God.
Full fellowship with God.
Were to enable us all humanity.
To have the opportunity.
To know God and walk with him.
But what happens many times around the old covenant, as well as the new covenant?
Is religion or rituals get built up around it?
And can often in our lives and in our hearts become a substitute for real relationship with God so that we are practicing things externally and we are doing things in the name of God and we would say for God, but without a real connection to God.
And so the Lord wants to sit down with his people.
He calls a preliminary meeting.
He says, guys, we need to talk.
Because if you continue the way that you're going.
In that final judgment, things are not going to go as you expect them to go.
If it's a.
Student teacher conference.
The teacher would be saying.
There's a lot of room for improvement here.
In fact, you might fail this class.
If you don't.
Change the way that you're approaching these things.
Oh, you're showing up for class.
Your attendance is perfect.
You're doing the homework, but you're doing it all wrong.
You're making that external effort.
You're putting on that.
Show of great discipline.
But there's some substantial things missing.
And the Lord here is calling his people to evaluate their relationship with him and their approach to him.
Notice in verse seven he says, Oh my people again, he's addressing us.
Those who would say we know God, he's addressing those who would say I am a child of God.
And and he says, listen as I speak.
Now remember that courtroom scene right in verses.
One through 6.
Notice who's speaking in the courtroom scene?
God calls all humanity together.
Not for them to speak.
But for them to listen.
God doesn't need you to speak to know.
What happened and what's going on and what the situation of your heart and mind is?
God doesn't need you to explain it.
He knows again everything is laid bare before him.
In this scene, God is the only one speaking.
And so, yes, we will give account.
Perhaps not in the way that we think, not in us.
Trying to put our spin on the situation.
We're going to be listening to the account.
Of what we did.
And why we did it?
The internal workings of our hearts and minds.
Charles Spurgeon says God himself, whose eyes sleep not who is not misled by rumor, but sees for himself.
He himself enters on the scene.
Like you don't get to call your buddy and say hey come be a you know character witness for me.
And so Harvey comes and says, God.
I know Jerry looks like a scumbag, but I had no otherwise and he's, you know, a really good guy and you should, really, you know, forgive him and let him into heaven and.
Harvey doesn't get to speak on my my behalf.
I don't get to speak on his, in fact.
I don't even get to speak on my own behalf.
The Lord already knows.
The full details.
More than I know, he knows more about my heart than I know, and so he has the reality.
He has the truth.
And so he calls us to listen because he knows and he says, look, here are my charges against you.
He says I am God your God.
You need to listen to my assessment to my evaluation.
Of what what's happening here?
And he starts off in verse 8 saying I have no complaints about your sacrifices.
I'm not here to say listen, you must be giving more.
You need to sacrifice more.
The Lord is saying here, you've been very diligent in your sacrifices.
At the end of verse eight, it says the burnt offerings you constantly offer.
Their external practices were on point.
But God is saying.
Those outside things they're on point, but you completely missed the point.
That is intended by those sacrifices.
They have a misunderstanding of sacrifices that God is going to set them straight about, and the following verses.
He says in verse nine I do not need the bulls from your barns or the goats from.
Talking to the Israelites again in the old covenant guys, you've been a little bit misled in your minds.
Where you're thinking that God somehow needs this sacrifice?
Where God is waiting on you and relying upon you and God is desperate for you to bring this bull to bring this goat to offer it on the altar.
God says all the animals of the forest are mine.
I own the cattle on 1000 hills.
I own it all.
God says I know every bird on the mountains.
Not just every species of bird, right?
But every single bird that exists in the whole world.
God knows each one exactly where it's out, how many feathers it has, what kind of life it has, what is in store for it, and.
Where it came from.
Their hits, all the animals of the field are mine.
Let's imagine for a moment God says I am hungry like you think I am?
If that were true, he says in verse.
12 I would not tell you.
Oh, thank goodness you brought a sacrifice.
'cause man I'm starving today and who?
Yeah it's been a few days since I had a good goat and so you know, thank goodness you brought that sacrifice I was.
It's really craving some goat today.
If I was hungry, I wouldn't tell you.
The world is mine.
I I can provide for my needs if I have needs, but God doesn't have needs.
But he's saying, hypothetically, like you're thinking of sacrifices in a way that somehow you're providing for me.
Do I eat the meat of bulls?
Do I drink the blood of?
Goats. That's not for me.
The sacrificial system was set up by God.
But not to fulfill some need of God.
It was to provide a means for.
People to approach God.
To be cleansed of sin.
To have right relationship with God and fellowship with God.
And so there was a misunderstanding in these religious practices that they had.
They were very good at doing those external things, but missing the heart of it and you see that.
Addressed throughout the life and Ministry of Jesus.
You've heard it said the sermon on the Mount, right?
You've heard it said Jesus would say, and he would account a little bit of the teaching of the scribes and the Pharisees, the law, from their points of view.
But but then he said, but I tell you, and and let me tell you the hearts of that teaching of that instruction, not just the outside of it.
But but there's the inner workings that God is really addressing there.
But you've missed.
Those things by focusing on the external.
Check out what Jesus told the religious leaders. The Pharisees in Luke Chapter 11, verse 42.
He says what sorrow awaits you Pharisees for you are careful to tide even the tiniest income from your herb gardens.
But you ignore justice and the love of God.
You should try it, yes.
But do not neglect the more important things and what a contrast that that shows us.
What a picture that paints of.
I don't know if any of you have an herb garden right, but you go out to your herb garden if you have one.
And make sure you snip off 10% those first fruits you know from that Herb Garden. You get that parsley out and you bring it to church and you give.
It to God.
The religious leaders were very good at that.
And they were fully devoted on.
OK, I got a bunch of mint harvest here that I gotta pull up.
It's, you know, maybe three cups of mint. OK, so now let me divide that into 10%. OK, so this is the mint that goes to the Lord. I gotta be careful about that. And and they're great at that.
But Jesus says you're neglecting the love of God.
The point isn't that God needs your mint.
'cause you know, eating all that goat gives him bad breath.
So I need to freshen it up a little.
Bit so bring them into no.
No, the the point is that that was part of the relationship that God had called you to, but, but you've just focused on those external things that you could do, and you've totally neglected.
The more important things like justice.
And the love of God.
Can behave similarly, although we do not partake in the animal sacrificial system.
But the same mentality can creep into our hearts.
And we give money to God.
In our mind.
God so thankful that we showed up to church today to put that 20 bucks in the offering like.
I got you Lloyd.
I know you're about to go bankrupt and.
Things were just going to fall apart.
You're welcome, I showed up.
We can be very proud of how diligent we are.
In the religious sacrifices we make attendance Bible reading acts of service.
Really, you can think about it.
Anything that we think qualifies us as a good person.
Is really just an external.
Religious act or ritual?
And God's not saying that we should not do.
Any of that?
But the issue that he has with his people is that they're doing those things.
While at the same time missing the heart and the intent and the real relationship.
With God through it.
And so God point here.
Meeting with his people is not to stop them from the sacrifices, he says.
I don't have a charge against you for that.
But also, that's not the end of the story.
Now you need to take that empty shell that you have a religion and fill it with the substance with the reality.
Of what God wants.
And the relationship that he desires to have with you and so verse 14 and 15 give us that substance.
He says in verse 14 make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the most high.
Make faithfulness your sacrifice to God.
So what are we going to fill?
This empty shell?
This empty religious system that we have?
It doesn't feel empty to us.
It gives us good feelings and we feel great about ourselves.
But again, it's a reality check.
We feel great about all the external things we're doing.
God says you shouldn't feel so great about that.
It's not what you think it is.
Here's what you need to do.
To fill into to give.
Those practices, real meaning and value make thankfulness your sacrifice to God.
Is a really great test of our hearts.
And it's a great exposure of empty religion when we've been caught up in that.
It's a good test for us.
Are you thankful?
Think when this puts us in that right place of being the recipients of God's work.
The right understanding the right perspective so that we're not thinking that God is so thankful that we showed up, but but the other way around.
I'm the sheep.
He's the shepherd, right?
I need him.
And everything that I have is from him, and anything that I can do is because he enables me to.
My life should abound with thankfulness because.
Apart from the Lord.
There is nothing and I have nothing.
And it's quite ironic.
That we can be very religious people.
Meanwhile, being extremely bitter or angry or sour.
And it exposes the reality of our hearts.
We have the external, the form of religion.
But not the substance.
Not the real relationship with God.
You cannot be thankful.
Without having a heart.
You can say thank you.
Right, this is.
Probably many of you parents you teach your kids to say thank you and you have to like teach them and demand it and say thank you.
We say thank you.
Even if we're not grateful, it's a.
You know just a way to be polite.
That's not what God is asking for here.
Have a heart.
That is overflowing.
God, you're so good to me.
You're so great in my life.
Your mercies are new every morning and your goodness.
To me just overflows God.
I'm thankful make that your sacrifice to God, he says.
It's not just say thank you and and you can make it a law and make it another form of external religion without having any substance by just saying OK.
So that means every prayer.
So let me just write a note here and put a reminder.
OK, every day, say thank you to God.
OK, thank you God.
OK got that out the way.
That that's not the point.
The point is, have a heart that is overwhelmed with gratitude.
For what God has done and is doing and will do in your life, well, not only that he goes on to say keep the vows that you made to the most high.
Representing that with the word faithfulness. Here in point #2 fill your empty religion with thinks thankfulness, faithfulness, and then we'll get to humility. In a moment, faithfulness.
Keeping the vowels that you made to the most high vowels are very interesting.
Throughout the scripture, God makes it clear he doesn't require vows.
Beyond the initial one.
And you should understand and know that there is the vow that God does require of us.
But it's really just that first one that he requires.
There is a requirement that he gives.
Jesus tells us in Mark Chapter 8, verse 34 and 35.
Calling to the crowd to join his disciples.
So this isn't just for a select few.
This is for the crowd.
All of us.
If any of you wants to.
Be my follower.
You must give up your own way.
Take up your cross and follow me.
If you try to hang onto your life, you will lose it, but if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the good.
News, you will save it.
So we often refer to this as I committed my life to the Lord.
I gave my life to Jesus.
That's the first vow.
That is the one that's required.
Jesus says if you want to follow me, this is what you have to do.
You have to commit yourself to me.
You have to.
Give up your own way.
Lay down your own life and follow me.
So that is a vow that you made if you have.
Believed in Jesus.
If you've been born again, you came to the Lord and gave your life to him, and that that's a vow that.
God says you.
Should keep now.
Beyond that, we often make vowels.
God doesn't require beyond that.
But when we make the vowels.
Again, you can search it throughout the scriptures.
God says I didn't require that vow, but you made it and because you made that vow, you must keep it.
Faithfulness keeping your vows.
God didn't require you to make that vow about your devotional life, but you made it.
So God says I'm gonna hold you to that.
God didn't require you to make that vow about acts of service or committing to this or that for the Lord, but you made it.
We make vows about.
Our finances, our attitudes.
We we promise God all sorts of things.
So God says, if you want to fill your empty shell of a religion.
Do those things that you committed to do to God.
How about your marriage balance?
Those are values you made before God.
Be committed. Be faithful.
Those vows to God are important.
Again, they're not required beyond that initial one, but since.
You made it.
God says you need to be faithful.
What you promised.
Verse 15 then call on me when.
You are in trouble.
And I will.
Rescue you and you will give me glory.
I represent this verse with the word humility.
Fill your empty religion with thankfulness, faithfulness, and humility that's called God for help.
Call God for help.
Now we could think isn't this obvious or automatic?
And yes, there is that typical calling out to God when they're in the in the midst of.
Trouble and difficulty.
But understanding the context of who the Lord is addressing here.
He's addressing religious people.
Who are trusting?
In their external acts and services.
And you know, oftentimes.
Have even been in that camp once or twice myself.
Face situations and try to handle them ourselves and we don't call out to the Lord.
There's a pride in us that we try to take care of things or it's just not even on our mind.
It doesn't even occur to us.
To wait and hear from God what he has to say about the situation.
God says call to me.
When you're in trouble.
Ask me for help.
Now think about the things that God is asking for here.
Like such a demanding mean God.
Do what you said you were going to do and ask.
Me for help when you need it like oh.
Yeah, I hate God, he's terrible man.
These awful things are requires like like these.
These are not.
Heavy things that God is just like placing this huge.
Burden on us.
He said like you're gonna be overwhelmed.
And you're going to.
Have to die to yourself because you're full of pride and you're.
Going to want.
To try to handle it yourself, but don't try to handle things yourself.
Call to me when you're in trouble.
Let me be your savior.
Let me rescue you.
And he goes on to say, and you will give me glory.
So it's not just calling for help.
But then it's telling others, hey, God, help me.
All that hurts, right?
I want to tell everybody about all my victories.
Listen if you only share about your victories, you have an empty religion.
Maybe that's too bold of.
A statement let me re-evaluate.
No, I stand by it.
If you only share victories in your life, victories that you accomplish, you have an empty religion.
If you don't find trouble and and get it in stuck places and need help from God and you call out to God and God rescues you, you don't have real relationship with God.
Because that's part of our walk that is part.
We face battles and issues.
We have challenges in all aspects of our life.
God says call to me.
Let me help you.
And then praise me.
And let other people know how I've worked in your life.
Fill your empty religion.
With thankfulness faithfulness.
Now if you find any of these things missing, what do you do?
Determine really hard to be thankful.
Now I would suggest these are indicators.
To help you call out to God.
Thank God I I see that thankfulness that's being talked about here.
I look in the mirror, and I just I don't see that kind of thankfulness.
I can't generate that kind of thankfulness, so, Lord.
I'm calling on you.
I need your help to be able to see your goodness in my life.
To be able to counteract the.
Bitter negative, self focused perspective that I have.
And to see your work in.
My life when these things are missing.
Call on God.
To change you.
Well, let's finish up in verses 16 through 23. Obviously, I won't camp out on this too far, but point #3 is God addresses the next group of people repent and stop pretending religion again. He's talking to his people.
But if he gives the assessment of their life, he says you guys.
Are in severe trouble and you need to make some serious course corrections immediately versus 16 through 23 says this.
But God says to the wicked.
Why bother reciting my decrees and pretending to obey my covenant?
For you, refuse my discipline and treat my words like trash.
When you see thieves, you approve of them and you spend your time with adulterers.
Your mouth is filled with wickedness, and your tongue is full of lies.
You sit around and slander your brother, your own mother son.
While you did all this, I remained silent and you thought I didn't care.
But now I will rebuke you, listing all my charges against you.
Repent all of you who forget me.
Or I will tear you apart and no one will help you.
But giving things is a sacrifice that truly honors me.
If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation.
Here again, the judge assesses the situation.
This time it's not an empty religion that he finds with this group.
He says it's a fake religion.
But it's still religion.
They're still sacrificing.
This group of people is convinced sacrifice is a substitute for real obedience to God.
I can live however I want.
I can do what I want.
I can practice immorality, I can practice sin and.
As long as I show up for church pay, my ties do my Bible reading. You know, I felt as long as I check these religious boxes then I'm OK. It doesn't matter that I live this way and ignore God's word that way.
And God says, that's not how it works.
You're just pretending to obey my covenant.
You're pretending you don't actually.
Walk with me.
Because you refuse my discipline and treat my words.
You cast your words behind me.
Another version says or behind you you.
Just throw it out, yeah?
I don't like what God says there.
I'm just going to do what I want to do.
You know Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 7 there's going to be a lot of surprise people on that day when they stand before God.
And he's gonna say I don't know.
You get out of here.
I'm not gonna say, but we called you Lord and we did works for you and we served you and we.
Did we have this list of things that?
We did great for you.
God says I never knew you.
You had the form.
But it was all pretense.
It was all fake.
You didn't actually know God.
He gives a few examples in verses 18 through 20.
Approving of thieves and spending time with adulterers having your mouth filled with wickedness.
And you slander your brother.
Your your own sibling, you slander.
And you might think, well, that's such a little thing.
I mean, I've done way worse then slander my sibling.
Don't get yourself in more trouble.
That's the point.
Even speaking evolove
Your own family.
Like if you're going to be on the hook.
For that, understand there's much more.
That's just the tip of the iceberg.
To what you're gonna be on the hook for.
God says I I remain silent.
Why you did this?
God patience sometimes.
Is misunderstood to be acceptance and approval.
God says, you thought I didn't care because I didn't strike you with lightning.
You know, as much as we have that as like a common trope, right?
Like watch out, he's gonna be struck by lightning, like how often does that happen?
It doesn't really happen.
There was that one occasion back in the book of Acts right Chapter 5 and a nice.
And sephira but.
But the reality is, God doesn't strike us immediately when we sin.
He's patient to give us opportunity to repent.
He doesn't want to strike us immediately because he wants to give us opportunity to turn and change and experience life with him.
But that time comes to an end, he says.
But now I will rebuke you.
You thought I didn't care.
So you kept living how you wanted to live.
Still having the form of religion to put on the show to pretend but.
Wickedness was the practice of your life and the focus of your heart.
God says there's one chance you have.
Verse 22 repent.
Repent or I will tear you apart.
And no one.
Will help you.
Again, you stand before God, the creator of the heavens and the earth.
You will give account to him for your life for every action.
Tricking him or faking it?
He'll know the truth.
What is the judge see, as he assesses your life and your heart today, empty religion.
I hope not.
But if he does.
Understand sacrifice is not a substitute for real relationship with God.
Does he see a completely fake religion?
When he examines your life this morning.
I hope not.
You need to understand.
Sacrifice is not a substitute for real obedience to God.
And I pray this morning that we would have this clear reality check from the Lord.
It's not too late, that's the point.
There will be a day when we stand before him.
There's no opportunity to change at that point, but right now today, there's opportunity to change.
And God's warning here for both is if you don't change, there's some serious consequences here. There's so many parallels to this Psalm, and the letters that Jesus writes to the churches in Revelation chapter two and three.
We would like to think of ourselves as the ones who don't need to repent.
But here God speaks to his people and he says, repent.
And the letters to the churches, Jesus says.
Over and over again.
Repent, there's there's a lot.
That we need to consider and allow God to expose in our lives.
We will stand before God.
To give account.
And so he gives us this preliminary meeting.
To help us see.
The mighty God himself will be your judge.
Make sure if you have empty religion.
External practices, but not much substance.
Fill those practices.
Don't stop your devotion to God.
But fill it, make it meaningful and powerful and impactful.
With thankfulness, faithfulness and humility.
But if you find yourself just pretending.
Immediate action required.
Again, it might just be the last two minutes and God called the time out to sit you down and say you need to understand where you're at.
And if you don't.
Change something in the next two minutes.
Then I'm going to tear you apart.
And you're going to face the judgment of God, repent and stop pretending religion.
Let's pray God, we pray.
For our hearts, Lord, our hearts are deceitful above everything else.
We're so good at tricking ourselves that.
What if things that are not true?
But Lord, as you have brought forth a little bit of light into your truth this morning.
As you've exposed our hearts.
I pray that you would help us too.
Except your evaluation, your assessment not to argue with it or try to justify ourselves.
To recognize the truth, to hear from you.
But you love us.
That you resolved the real issue of our hearts on our behalf there at the cross.
And then you sit us down in.
Times like this.
So that we don't continue on in a path that is destructive to us and everyone around us.
Help us God to hear your voice you want what's best for us and you know what's best for us?
May we respond to your word?
Preliminary meeting with you.
Cause us to change direction.
And to follow you the way that you've called us to.
I pray this in Jesus name.