Learning from Psalms 50-59
50:1-23- ‘Our God comes, He does not keep silence’(3). God does not keep His distance. He comes near to us. He does not keep His silence. He speaks to us - ‘God the Lord speaks’(1). How does God come near to us? How does He speak to us? He comes near to us in Jesus Christ. He speaks to us through Jesus Christ. In John 1:1, we have this tremendous description of Jesus Christ: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. Jesus Christ is the Word. God is speaking to us through Jesus Christ. How does God speak to us through Jesus Christ? He speaks to us by drawing near to us - ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’. Jesus Christ is God’s Word. He is God, speaking to us. He is God, coming near to us. He is God, ‘full of grace and truth’(John 1:14).
51:1-19- ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God... Cast me not away from Thy presence... Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation’(10-12). These words come to us from the ancient past. They were first spoken many centuries ago. They can be the words which change your future. You can make them your words. David made a new beginning with God. You can make a new beginning with God. You have sinned. You need to be forgiven. Come to Christ. He says, ‘I will never turn away anyone who comes to Me’(John 6:37). You need to be ‘born again’. Receive Christ as your Saviour and be ‘born again’- ‘born of God’(John 3:3,7; 1:12). You feel so weak, unable to be the person God wants you to be. Let ‘the joy of the Lord be your strength’(Nehemiah 8:10). Let His love reach you. Let His power make you a new person.
52:1-53:6- ‘I am like a green olive tree in the House of God’(9). This is a picture of growth and fruitfulness - in the House of God. You can grow spiritually - in the House of God. You can become spiritually fruitful - in the House of God. We must not ‘go it alone’. We receive strength as we worship with the Lord’s people. When the Psalmist prays for God’s blessing, he is not just thinking about himself. He is praying for the whole people of God: ‘O that salvation for Israel would come from Zion!’. He is praying that God will ‘restore the fortunes of His people’. He is not thinking only about his own personal happiness. He is praying that all God’s people ‘will rejoice and be glad’(53:6). Don’t just pray for yourself. Pray ‘that the body of Christ may be built up until we all... become mature...’(Ephesians 4:12-13).
54:1-55:23- The Psalmist had problems - ‘Strangers are attacking me; ruthless men seek my life - men with no regard for God’(54:3). There was, however, something else troubling him. Someone else was causing him problems - ‘my close friend, with whom I enjoyed sweet fellowship, as we worshipped together at the House of God’(13-14). He felt like running away from it all - ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest - I would flee far away and stay in the desert... I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm’(55:6-8). This is what he felt like doing. He had almost forgotten - ‘God is my Helper’(54:4). With God, he faced and overcame his problems: ‘I will call upon God; and the Lord will save me’. ‘Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you’(16,22).
56:1-57:11- ‘Be gracious to me, O God... Be merciful to me, O God’(56:1; 57:1). In mercy, God withholds from us the judgment we deserve. In grace, He gives to us the salvation we do not deserve. How does He do this for us? He makes His grace and mercy available to us through the death of His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. How do we receive God’s grace and mercy? We look to the Cross of Jesus Christ. There, we see our Saviour, bearing our sin and inviting us to receive His salvation. There, we see God’s ‘steadfast love and faithfulness’(57:3,10). At the Cross of Christ, we see eternal love. God loves us. His love is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable. How are we to respond to such love? - ‘I will give thanks to You, O Lord... I will sing praises to You... Be exalted, O God...’(57:9-11).
58:1-59:17- ‘Surely there is a God who judges the earth’(58:11). Let these words send you to the Saviour. ‘Deliver me from my enemies, O my God’(59:1). Take this prayer with you to the Cross of Christ. There, at the Cross, you will meet the Saviour - ‘My God in His steadfast love will meet me’. In our Saviour, we have the victory over our enemy, Satan - ‘My God will let me look in triumph on my enemies’(59:10). What a Saviour we have! Think of His love. Think of His power. Let your heart be filled with praise to Him - ‘I will sing of Your strength... I will sing of Your love... O my Strength, I sing praise to You; You, O God, are my Fortress, my loving God’(16-17). What a great salvation God has given to us in Christ - the forgiveness of our sins, victory over our enemies and eternal life (1 John 1:7,9; 3:8; 5:4-5,11-13).