Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Psalm 50:23 The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to the one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God.
I must admit something up front. The very foundation of my devotional today is contradictory. I have thought long and hard as to how to make it not so, but I cannot figure it out. The premise of my argument is sound, but the application refutes the premise. Oh what a quandary I am in.
The 50th Psalm, written by Asaph, is built on this premise – God accepts only one form of sacrifice from people who seek Him – the sacrifice of thanksgiving. But how do I address the lack of thanksgiving I see in my own life and in the life of the average Christian without it coming across as thankless? How do I promote thanksgiving while being unthankful for the current status of our thankfulness? Do you understand the dilemma?
But then the Holy Spirit breaks through the cloud, and reminds me that we are never to be thankful for sin, especially the sin of ingratitude. So here is my challenge to us today.
Look at the breakdown of Psalm 50:23
- We cannot claim to be living a life that is pleasing to God unless we are doing what glorifies Him.
- We only glorify Him when we bring to Him thanksgiving as a sacrifice.
- Being unthankful offends God and falls short of His glory.
- Thankfulness is the proof of a life that is ordered rightly and has seen the salvation of God.
Asaph lays out quite a contrast between unthankful people and those who are focused on praise. Here’s what an unthankful person looks like according to verses 17-21:
- They hate discipline. In fact, some may be ready to stop reading this right now.
- They throw away the words of God as insignificant and irrelevant.
- They keep company with other sinners, not to influence them, but for the perceived benefit they may receive from them.
- They speak about sin as if it is normal and acceptable, and they will lie to accomplish their own agenda.
- They speak evil about those they should be loving the most.
- The have reduced God down to the level of man, thinking that because He has not corrected or punished them for what they are doing, He must be okay with it.
These are serious things. If we care enough to be honest with ourselves before God, we can all relate to one or more of these sins in our own lives. But then Asaph says this: The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to the one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God.
The thing that stands out the most to me is the word sacrifice. Thanksgiving is a sacrifice because it makes a statement that I am letting go of all the trouble about which I consistently complain, and prefer instead to trust God to handle it all. Thanksgiving is an act of letting go of my control and my desire for human solutions, and turning it all over to God with verbal statements of trust in His faithfulness, His love, His grace, His mercy, His compassion, and more.
Thankfulness is the expression of faith and trust in the nature and character of God, which frees us from the chains of complaining and criticism. This glorifies God. To not be thankful glorifies self. Thankfulness is the visible sign of a rightly ordered life. Not being thankful is the visible mark of a self-centered life.
Let us become thankful people. Believe me, if we would start to focus on the greatness of God rather than the seeming greatness of our problems, we would naturally express our gratitude for God and His salvation.
P.S. Psalm 50:23 might be a good verse to commit to memory as you pursue the challenge of one of last week’s devotionals to hide God’s Word in our hearts.