“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 glory.”
But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honours Me. If you keep to My path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.””
Psalms 50:14-15, 23 NLT
Psalm 50 starts with the picture of God sitting in judgement over His people. I love the poetic language, for example, in the words of verse 1, where God summons everyone “from where the sun rises to where it sets”. That is, everywhere in the world. And here is God, surrounded by fire and storms, coming to be the Judge on Mount Zion. He lays out the problem. It’s not about the sacrifices His people bring. It’s not about the value placed on animals used in sacrifices, the bulls or the goats. He points out that everything belongs to Him anyway; after all, all life wherever it is belongs to Him. So He doesn’t need anything His people can supply. No. God was pointing out that the promises made to Him by His people must be backed up by thankful hearts. Hearts that truly honour Him by keeping to His teaching with the right attitudes. And the benefits are plain to see; a relationship where God’s protection and salvation are echoed by His people’s expressions of giving glory to Him.
I always feel sorry for those people who do not believe in a Creator God. Who believe that the world happened to be what it is by chance. Those people who appreciate the beauty of a sunset over the Isle of Jura, in the West of Scotland. Who look at the stunning colours displayed by flowers such as the poppy. Who look at the perfection of a new born baby. And in their gaze they acknowledge the wonder but have no one to thank for it. And those of us who do believe in a Creator God, we have to be careful that we don’t become too familiar with what God has done, failing to offer Him the thanks He deserves for His countless wonders, His countless blessings. Instead we can fall into the same trap as the people we read about in the Psalm, people who were going through a religious ritual, without having thankful hearts turned towards Him.
So how is our relationship with God? Do we try and do things for Him to gain His favour? Do we worship our denominational liturgy instead of the Person the liturgy points to? Do we sit in a Sunday pew allowing our minds to wander to what we are going to eat for lunch or what we are going to do after church? Do we rush our way through our morning prayer time, reciting our prayers by rote without touching the Person we are praying to? Or do we kneel before our wonderful Creator God, offering Him a sacrifice of our thankful hearts, acknowledging all that he has done for us, honouring the Person who loves us so much? Worth a thought?