Perhaps like me, you have wondered how much worse things can get before the Lord brings an end to the rebellion of His creatures. Those thoughts should remind us that God is infinitely more longsuffering and merciful toward sinners than we are. But that is not to suggest either that He is oblivious to sin or that He will excuse it. Consider the truths set forth in Psalm 50.
God’s Indictment. For any who might become smug, complacent, or arrogant in their sin, thinking that God either does not see it or does not care about it, He offers this corrective. The psalm written by Asaph is a legal indictment tabulating Israel’s transgressions, but it might well have been written about our nation today.
1. “You hate discipline” (v. 17a). The United States has become a nation that hates discipline. Parents coddle disobedient children and refuse to discipline them. Judges and juries allow serious offenders to escape with a slap on the wrist. And open flouting of the law is lauded by the media.
2. “You cast My words behind you” (v. 17b). Our nation as a whole has ceased even to know or recognize God’s words. But what may be even more sobering is that many in the real church are choosing to ignore the parts of the Word of God that they find to be inconvenient to their lifestyle.
3. “When you see a thief, you are pleased with him” (v. 18a). Lawbreakers are not shamed today; far too often they are celebrated. But perhaps the greatest “thieves” that the nation finds pleasing are various taxing bodies that feel free to steal from productive individuals and distribute their ill-gotten gains to those who refuse to be productive themselves. And this legal plunder is hailed as charitable.
4. “You associate with adulterers” (v. 18b). Sexual immorality has so pervaded our country that it has become nearly impossible not to associate with adulterers, those who openly indulge in sexual immorality. Few qualities more fully define the character of the nation today than does sexual immorality. Once viewed as a shameful thing, promiscuity has become a badge of righteousness! Any other position is viewed by many as narrowminded bigotry.
5. “You let your mouth loose in evil” (v. 19a). For the first time, in the movie, Gone With the Wind, released in 1939, a swear word was uttered on screen. Today, elementary school children swear and take God’s name in vain as readily as they ask for candy. Vulgar language has become so common that no one has time to blush at anything. Vicious personal attacks and gossip are lapped up on social media by vast numbers of people thirsty for the latest word of scandal. Our mouths are full of evil.
6. “Your tongue frames deceit” (v. 19b). Lying has become a way of life for many public figures. Only the naïve automatically trust what politicians and bureaucrats say. Scientists propagate lies about evolution; educators spout lies about history and human nature. And those who express opposing views are shouted down or otherwise silenced.
God’s Response. So we see that God knows these things. And what is His response? “These things you have done and I kept silence; you thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes. Now consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver” (vv. 21, 22). God is just; He always judges sin—in His time and in His way. In the meantime, He offers this promise: “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God” (v. 23). Trust and obey the Lord.
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