Psalm 50:6… “And the heavens shall declare His righteousness, for God is judge Himself” (KJV). Asaph’s powerful message lets us know that there are reasons why miracles are far and few between in the house of the Lord. Moffatt’s translation says, “The heavens announce His assize, that God begins the trial.” The word “assize” refers to a court session, especially a judicial inquest or inquiry. Asaph is smart; he sings his message so it’s easier on the people. He deals with the value of true worship as compared to “forms” of worship. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:5… “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (KJV) or “having an outward form of godliness but are standing denial of its power.” In Psalm 50, God is speaking to the whole earth and says that out of Zion, light will come that will illuminate the problem. There were two conclusions reached and then a final admonition given.
God judges and rebukes formalism (vv. 7-15)… The prophet was speaking by the Spirit and said, “You are stuck in sameness” or in formalism.* Asaph deals with a people who are consecrated and who love the Lord, and who make many sacrifices. God’s court session is going to examine sacrificial offerings. In v. 8, God does not oppose their sacrifices of worship. They had lots of that, but it produced “sameness.” God was opposing their formalism and attitude in their sacrifices. Their attitude was, “I’m giving my bullock, my lamb, and my offering.” God says, “Wait a minute–the cattle on a thousand hills are mine. The world and all its fullness are mine (vv. 10-11). I don’t have to be dependent upon you for anything. You can’t sustain me; I’m sustaining you.” Then God says in vv. 14-15, “Real worship is offering a sacrifice with thanksgiving and the paying of your vows.” So, “Then if you need a miracle, call upon me in the day of your need and I will deliver you (by a miracle). Then you will be able to glorify me with a free spirit.” The idea is that sameness had bound their spirit, and heaviness made their worship monotonous. God wants to deliver people from sameness. Sameness in our church meetings is a burden, a heaviness, a “form” of godliness. The devil wants to see the church stuck in sameness. Why? Because sameness and formalism have no impact or power. The word “glorify” as used here means that you no longer will praise God with a burdened heart. You will be able to promote God’s honor with a free heart, and will begin to see miracles in your life. God does look upon congregations today, looking for that pure and holy heart that abounds in liberty and joy and expectancy. External devotion must have a corresponding inward holiness. Ritual and formalism without righteousness is an abomination. Psalm 58:1 says, “Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?” (KJV). So then, God’s first conclusion is that sameness hinders miracles.
God judges and rebukes hypocrisy (vv. 16-21)… He is talking of believers who are stuck in hypocrisy. When people are stuck in “sameness,” it eventually leads to a lack of showing mercy, compassion, and love. Their lifestyle eventually changes when hypocrisy enters. The Lord says to hypocrites, “You take my covenant into your mouths, but you fling my words behind your back” (vv. 16-17). In other words, “You want my blessings but not my words.” Many say that they are Christians but they knowingly break the laws of God; i.e., God’s rules of conduct. They proclaim the gospel, but fall short on practice. Asaph, the prophet-musician, lays out in song their hypocrisy (vv. 18-20): dishonesty, lusting, speaking evil, planning deceit, and slandering other saints. Then Asaph says, “You actually thought that God was like you.” So the second conclusion of God’s judicial investigative assize is that hypocrisy stems the flow of miracles.
God summarizes the findings and gives His closing remarks… “Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God” (vv. 22-23, KJV). These words were for those stuck in “sameness” and hypocrisy. God asks them to consider what He is saying, lest He tears them to pieces and there is no one to perform the miracles that they need. God called “sameness” and hypocrisy a forgetting of God. The next verse is the key to receiving miracles. Whoso… that’s you… offereth praise… the giving of your sacrifice (Hebrews 13:15)… glorifieth me… honors God through worship from a pure heart… and to him… that’s you again… that ordereth… commands, cares, directs… his conversation… manner of living, lifestyle… aright… stands upright and establishes his manner of living by God’s rule of conduct… will I shew the salvation of God… the deliverance miracles that your life needs. Many translations of this verse say that “anyone who praises God prepares a way for God to manifest His miracles.”
Praise plus right practices works wonders. Yes, saints… God holds court to inquire about the lack of miracles in our churches. There, now you know why there is a lack of miracles.
Pastor George Belobaba
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*See “Fixed Liturgy,” June 7th, 2014.